Rugby residency rule delayed

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The rugby residency rule has been delayed by a further year. This rule allows a player to become eligible for another nation provided they have not represented the designated ‘senior’ representative team of a union where they were born.

World Rugby said in a statement that it is prolonging the rule due to “exceptional disruption” caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. In May World Rugby voted to extend the residency rule from 3 to 5 years which was a rule welcomed by many in the sport.

However, it has now been reported that the cut off date of December 31st 2020 has now been delayed to December 31st 2021.

The extension was due to come into law at the end of 2020 but last month the governing body extended the three year residency for another 12 months on “compassionate grounds” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the disruption to the international calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, playing opportunities have been significantly affected across the sport’s 127 member unions and eligible players may have been prevented from representing a union on the basis of 36 months residency by the scheduled cut-off date and would therefore automatically move into the 60-month requirement,” explained a WR statement. “In light of these exceptional circumstances, the Executive Committee, having consulted with unions and International Rugby Players, determined it was appropriate to extend the 36 month residency requirement set out in Regulation 8 to December 31st 2021.”

James Lowe will become one of the last players recruited by the IRFU to become eligible under three years residency.  One high profile case will be Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman who can represent Scotland next year rather than in 2023.

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