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Thread: Rugby rethinks dual international rule

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    Rugby rethinks dual international rule

    Rugby rethinks dual international rule

    DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
    May 19, 2010 - 9:48AM


    Rugby's contentious rule that forbids players representing more than one country is back on the table.

    Knocked back by the International Rugby Board last December, the issue has been reopened for discussion after being aired again at the IRB's latest meeting in Dublin.

    It is seen as a potential boost to the competitiveness of many second tier nations, most notably the Pacific islands who have many leading players lured away by the All Blacks and Wallabies.

    "We have got an opportunity for the regulation that allows players to play for a second country to be reconsidered,” NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said from Dublin.

    "It was looking like it was going to hit a wall at the meeting but we have at least managed to get it to go back to unions for further consultation.”

    But Tew is realistic with the rule needing a 75 percent majority to be passed: "Frankly it is a big hill to climb. There is some pretty strong opposition in the north. But at least we have got another shot at it.”

    At the moment the IRB rules are strict - once a player represents one country that's his lot for life.

    New Zealand is keen on seeing the rule amended to allow for more leniencies believing it can help the game in the Pacific.

    While rugby wouldn't want to fall into the loose rules that cover eligibility in league, there appears to be some merit in relaxing the legislation.

    Rugby is littered with players who have their hands tied through limited appearances.

    Sosene Anesi's 12 minutes as an All Black in 2005 cost him any chance of playing for Samoa. But it works the other way too – a young Isa Nacewa played a handful of minutes for Fiji at the 2003 World Cup which was a disaster for his All Blacks aspirations

    There are many former internationals still playing with enough miles left on their clocks to make useful contributions to their lesser test teams.

    Former All Blacks Doug Howlett, Sam Tuitupou, Sione Lauaki and Saimone Taumoepeau would all come into the frame for Tonga.

    Samoa could be boosted by the likes of Jerry Collins, Chris Masoe, Anesi and Casey Laulala.

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    Veteran TOCC's Avatar
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    it could extremely benefit some of the smaller countries, but the IRB will have to be very careful how they go about implementing the rule, it has the potential to be a double edged sword.

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    they are raising it after 6 months?
    i doubt it will change...

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    I think TOCC summed it up. We already see players playing for 'countries of convenience' at the World Cup (Japan anyone?) and I wouldn't want to see the floodgates opened.

    And for argument's sake I'd have a problem with, say, "All Black legend" Tana Umaga suddenly turning out for Samoa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beige View Post
    I'd have a problem with, say, "All Black legend" Tana Umaga suddenly turning out for Samoa.
    Why? I'd see that as a great example of how to make the developing nations of rugby more competitive.

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    I'd see it as potentially making a joke of international rugby - imagine if John Eales had switched to the Italian test side while he was playing?

    Or imagine if they did that in soccer and Zinedine Zidane suddenly turned out for Algeria or Dutch captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst pulled on an Indonesian jersey.

    The IRB may find a system that works for players that have maybe played one test several years ago but they'll have to be very careful.

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    or with a more recent example.
    if JOC said "nah stuff you lot: and turned out for either to saffas or the all blacks

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    I can see merit in it for Tier 1 back to Tier 2, though I wouldn't want it to become a retirement home at the expense of PI player development.
    I think they would need to have some level of restriction per match selection.
    Maybe something like:

    Non RWC Year-
    1 x +10 Tier 1 Test Caps
    2 x -10 Tier 1 Test Caps

    RWC Year-
    3 x +10 Tier 1 Test Caps
    5 x -10 Tier 1 Test Caps

    There are obvious problems for individuals in making decisions where to go, not only would a single Test for a PI mean not being eligible for AB or Wallaby selection, it also means almost certainly needing to go to the NH if they wish to make a career from the code, though there are currently 14 opportunities in Australia to play S15.

    I wouldn't want to see the situation that is now in the English Premier League where there is the equivalent of three clubs of SH players, but, especially with the introduction of Argentina, SANZAR probably should be looking to proactive ways of including PI players in expanded Squads or a second tier competition so there is less incentive/demand for individuals to make the hard decision of heritage v dollars.

    I wouldn't be in favour of a Tier 2 player being able to convert to a Tier 1 nation without a considerable irreversible cooling off period and a requirement for citizenship, not residency.

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    The idea has merit. Most issues could be sidestepped by limiting the rule relaxation to players returning to represent their country of birth only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    The idea has merit. Most issues could be sidestepped by limiting the rule relaxation to players returning to represent their country of birth only.
    Country of birth or country they first played rugby in?

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beige View Post
    Country of birth or country they first played rugby in?
    Country of Origin?

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    Stephen Moore may look a little out of place jogging out for the Saudi XV...

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    I agree with Shasta... If a player does want to switch countries , then it should only be back to the country the player was born in..
    This solves the issue about players been poached from the PI, sure it's not perfect but it would still achieve similar results

    The one rule they can't have is to allow a player to become elegible through reidency, i imagine if they were allowed Japan would abuse this rule
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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    The idea has merit. Most issues could be sidestepped by limiting the rule relaxation to players returning to represent their country of birth only.
    I don't think you need to do that as long as you made it so you could only represent downwards in tier. It would then be up to each tier 2 (or 3) nation's national rugby body to decide whether it would be worth it. Who says that country will want them? For example Tana Umaga isn't going to turn out for Samoa- he is way too old and creaky.

    Ultimately you want rugby to be more competitive. As it stands there are only about 8 teams with a realistic chance of winning a world cup and four who ever have.

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    Call me a cynic, but I reckon this is being pushed by the NZRU because they have received too many knockbacks from PI players who actually want to represent their nation.

    Even if this allowed player to return to their home country later in their career it would relieve them of the pressure of whether they're going to play for (say) Samoa when the NZRU try to contract them for the AllBlacks, they'll happily sign to play for New Zealand in the knowledge that, once their country needs them they can dance back on over there and play happily.

    Works for the player sure
    Works for the PI nations who get their players developed by NZ sure

    but works far more for the AllBlacks who get to suck the rugby life out of the best players in the PI and cast the spent husks back to their nation of origin once a better option comes along.

    I think I'm against it unless that can be managed!

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    C'mon the

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