IRB won’t allow abuses of the nationality regulations

Brett Gosper insists the IRB is  alert to potential abuses of the system.
Brett Gosper insists the IRB is alert to potential abuses of the system.
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Rugby bosses are set to move quickly to block a loophole in eligibility regulations that could see players switch nationalities ahead of next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.

The situation arises due to attempts to bolster so-called weaker nations when sevens debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics and make that competition more commercially appealing.

Under International Olympic Committee plans a player can represent another country provided they have the correct passport and have not been previously capped by another team for 18 months with a sevens qualifying appearance enough to open a door to a 15-a-side switch. International Rugby Board chief executive Brett Gosper insists the IRB is alert to potential abuses of the system.

“There is a regulations committee that will look at all applications for transfer and they will look to see if it’s for bona fide sevens reasons.

“There is a safety net and any transfer will have to be passed by the committee. They will act according to the spirit of the law. For example, if we have huge props applying for a career in sevens, then we’ll smell a rat.”

Scotland have been drawn in a World Cup pool with Samoa who are believed to be trying to take on board former All Blacks including Isaia Toeava.