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Thread: World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper says Test eligibility rules may be reviewed

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper says Test eligibility rules may be reviewed

    Date May 4, 2015 - 6:27PM
    Paul Cully


    World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper has indicated that the game's governing body is prepared to review its controversial three-year residency rule for Test eligibility as the combination of cashed-up clubs and global player movement test the international game's standing and integrity like never before in the professional era.

    "I think obviously there is a concentration of club wealth in the northern hemisphere, there's no question that the salaries are very high in France and in England and it's very tempting for players to ply their trade in the northern hemisphere," Gosper told Fairfax Media.

    "Each union in the southern hemisphere must find ways so that it's attractive still for those players to remain where they are, playing in SANZAR competitions, playing with the union they've grown up with and so on, but in terms of the residency laws, this was looked at a few years ago and it was determined that the laws as they were seemed to be right for that particular time.

    "That was about three or four years ago. I know that [World Rugby] president [Bernard] Lapasset has indicated that this may be something we need to look at again in the future, and look at whether the three-year residency is enough to ensure that integrity of the international game, so that may be something that may need to be looked at."

    Pressed on whether the sheer volume of players – and their young age – who have shifted countries had hastened the need for a review, Gosper said: "You want to preserve the specialness of the international game and therefore while club sides are gathering all-stars from around the world, and top international players, I think there is a feeling that there has to be some steps taken to ensure that the profile of the national team has that integrity, so I think in the mind of president Lapasset, who's suggested we do look at this, that would be something that we're considering.''

    Any change to the rule would have enormous global implications. France selected players from South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand (of Samoan heritage) in this year's Six Nations, while Ireland have handed Brian O'Driscoll's famous No.13 jersey to a New Zealander, Jared Payne. Scotland have been buying up young South Africans, New Zealanders and Australians for a number of years with a view to 'converting' them after the three-year residency period.

    For the Wallabies, it would be something of a double-edged sword. International recruiters, especially the French, are clearly targeting young, uncapped Australians such as Paul Alo-Emile, but on the other hand an extension to the three-year period could hit the likes of rising Rebels winger Sefanaia Naivalu, a Fijian. Henry Speight, another Fijian import, would still not be eligible if, for example, the residency period was lengthened to five years.

    The three-year residency period has been lambasted for being too short, allowing players to effectively change nationality with too much ease, and Gosper suggested that opinion was gathering strength in the top echelons of the governing body.

    "When that [the residency rule] was determined, I don't think there was quite the flow of of players in international movement that it's become in recent years, through Europe and Japan, and so on," he said. "So maybe it's time to take a look at that, and see if that's correct or some adjustment needs to be made."

    Such a change is not an immediate possibility. "That's something that would have to be voted on by the World Rugby council,'' Gosper said. ''It's not just a simple decision. It would be the result of some work by a working group and then a vote and so on, and require quite strong support for any change to be made to the residency rules.''

    Nevertheless, critics of the rule will be cheering from the rooftops that World Rugby has even put it up for discussion.

    Gosper also reaffirmed his determination to keep enforcing the so-called 'Regulation 9', the World Rugby rule that forces clubs to release their players for international duties. "It's critical that those players are available because international rugby drives in large part the economics of the game,'' Gosper said. ''We're determined to protect Reg 9, which protects the international game.''

    That, no doubt, will be music to the ears of the Australian Rugby Union as it prepares to select more and more players who are contracted to overseas clubs.

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/un...s.html?stb=twt

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Good idea but the Celtic nations will shoot this down like they've done with previous mooted changes to eligibility rules.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beige View Post
    Good idea but the Celtic nations will shoot this down like they've done with previous mooted changes to eligibility rules.
    And quite rightly so......with all of this talk about the eligibility period being too short and players from strong rugby nurseries like ZA and NZ (can't for the life of me figure out how Australia was named there) exactly how much better are the Northern Hemisphere teams.....the top end of the IRB rankings is pretty much business as usual but the gap has shrunk.

    Personally, I think strengthening the NH teams is good for World Rugby, making the World Cup more of an even competition.

    The other point is that New Zealand seem to name a team from the entire Pacific Islands region and they are top of the heap with daylight second......maybe they should do something about that first!

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Depends if you care about evenness over credibility. Hell, if you didn't worry about eligibility Japan could field a team with some of the greatest players in the world but it wouldn't be Japan.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Yes, that IS the age old argument, but if there was any genuine consideration for credibility there would be no residency rule for a player who didn't debut in senior rugby in a certain country.

    Anything other than that would have the likes of Tony Johnston claiming every player in an International team having some real or imagined eligibility for the All Blacks. (don't laugh, it could happen!)

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    Player Scozzie's Avatar
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    I'm not saying that Scotland haven't benefited from eligibility rules over the years, but to say that they've been "......buying up young South Africans, New Zealanders and Australians for a number of years" is a bit rich, when you look at the number of players that have flocked to English and French rugby. Scottish rugby doesn't have the cash to compete with these leagues, and I believe they're ploughing money back into grass roots nowadays anyway. And I'm sure the young SA, NZ and Aus players they've targeted have been players that qualify through parentage or grand-parentage.

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    I qualified through my grandparents--why they never picked me is hard to fathom-after all I did play one game for London Scottish 3rds back in 1972-serves them right(made the club's boat racing team,though)

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    Quote Originally Posted by beige View Post
    Depends if you care about evenness over credibility. Hell, if you didn't worry about eligibility Japan could field a team with some of the greatest players in the world but it wouldn't be Japan.
    Why not - apparently it is Toulon and no-one bats an eyelid at that?

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokendown gunfighter View Post
    I qualified through my grandparents--why they never picked me is hard to fathom-after all I did play one game for London Scottish 3rds back in 1972-serves them right(made the club's boat racing team,though)
    I didn't think All Black Trialist's qualified?

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    Veteran chibi's Avatar
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    I'm glad they're finally reviewing this, three-year residency in the age of scholarships and professional contracts is an anachronism.

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    Player Scozzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokendown gunfighter View Post
    I qualified through my grandparents--why they never picked me is hard to fathom-after all I did play one game for London Scottish 3rds back in 1972-serves them right(made the club's boat racing team,though)
    I'm sure that was a more prestigious team to be selected for anyway. Did you win any races though...?

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