November 26, 2021
Close to 30 players who have represented other countries are eligible to represent the Flying Fijians after the World Rugby Council approved an amendment to the regulations governing national team representation.
The amendment will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birthright.
From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months, must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country and may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity.
Any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer after 1 January.
Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O’Connor said their annual congress on Saturday touched on this topic and delegates supported the amendment by World Rugby.
He said though they support the amendment, the final say on player selection for national teams will come from the coaches.
Players who will become eligible for Fiji include Nathan Hughes, Semesa Rokoduguni, Waisake Naholo, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Seta Tamanivalu.
The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens.
All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.
By Reginald Chandar