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World Rugby confirm 5-year residency rule as 'necessary step in protecting integrity and credibility'

The 60-month consecutive residency rule will come into effect in 2021.

Adopted sons: CJ Stander and Jared Payne have been important players for Ireland.
Adopted sons: CJ Stander and Jared Payne have been important players for Ireland.
Image: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

THE WORLD RUGBY Council has extended the time needed for a player to become eligible to play Test rugby from three to five years (36 to 60 months).

Regulation 8, governing eligibility to play for national teams, had previously required 36 consecutive months of residency and Ireland have been among the European teams taking advantage of the rule with the likes of Jared Payne, Richardt Strauss and CJ Stander performing a key role on the national stage.

“The reformed Regulation 8 ensures that a player has a genuine, close, credible and established link with the nation of representation,” World Rugby said today, after the council met in Kyoto.

The new rule, which will also allow for players with 10 years of cumulative residency, will come into effect from 31 December 2020. That leaves time for players moving to new nations this year to qualify before the change.

“This is a historic moment for the sport and a great step towards protecting the integrity, ethos and stature of international rugby,” said Argentina’s Augustin Pichot, vice-chairman of World Rugby, who led calls for the extension of the three-year rule.

National team representation is the reward for devoting your career, your rugby life, to your nation and these amendments will ensure that the international arena is full of players devoted to their nation, who got there on merit.”

Chairman Bill Beaumont added:

““This reform of Regulation 8 governing eligibility is an important and necessary step to protecting the integrity and credibility of international rugby. This extension to the residency period within a forward-thinking reform package will ensure a close, credible and established link between a union and players, which is good for rugby and good for fans.”

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