What are Rugby Union’s International Eligibility Rules? Citizenship Regulations Explained

The Rugby World Cup 2019 features 20 sides from six continents – Express Sport takes a look at what it takes to gain eligibility for a nation.

There are four ways in which rugby union players can qualify to play for a nation, in accordance with World Rugby.

The main point of contention is that stars can live in a country for three consecutive years (36 months) in order to gain eligibility.

It led to some smaller nations losing players but the sport’s world governing body has now extended it from three to five years, coming into effect in 2020.

As for the rules currently in place, Express Sport casts an eye over the requirements to represent a nation…

What are rugby union’s citizenship and international eligibility rules?

The jurisdictions for the matter come under Regulation 8 in the World Rugby Handbook.

A player can only play for the senior 15-a-side national team, the reserve national team and the sevens national team of a country if they have a “genuine, close, credible and established national link” in which:

– he was born; or

– one parent or grandparent was born; or

– he has completed sixty¹ consecutive months of Residence immediately preceding the time of playing; or

– he has completed ten years of cumulative Residence preceding the time of playing.

Once a player has represented a country in one of the aforementioned national teams they cannot switch allegiance.

If a nation breaks the rules and are on the World Rugby Council – which England are – they will be fined a minimum of £100,000.

For all other World Rugby Member Unions the fine is a minumum of £25,000.

Players can also be sanctioned for breaking the rules if they are believed to have done so knowingly.


Source: express.co.uk
Published: 22 September 2019

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