Ireland international set to switch nations and will soon be eligible


At the beginning of 2021, World Rugby officially relaxed eligibility rules to allow national team players to switch countries if they are eligible.

Players can change allegiances if they were born in the country they want to represent or have a parent or grandparent born there; they can switch only once and there’s a stand-down period of three years from international rugby.

Several big names have opted to take up World Rugby on that proposition with the likes of Steven Luatua and Malakai Fekitoa returning to Samoa and Tonga respectively, as well as Jean Kleyn, who switched to back to his country of birth, South Africa, and won the 2022 Rugby World Cup, despite playing for Ireland at the 2019 edition.

And another Ireland international is plotting a move to his country of birth, with Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock set to make himself available for Wales, according to his father Mike, who coached Wales to a Six Nations Grand Slam back in 2005.

Ruddock has won 27 caps for Ireland, but the last of those was earned almost three years ago against France. He continues to member of Leinster’s squad and will be eligible to switch countries under the law on February 14, making him an option for the final three matches of the 2024 Six Nations.

“It’s not for me to tell Wales who to select, but purely as a father I would love to see him pull on a red jersey,” Ruddock told the Irish Mirror.

“It’s where he grew up as a rugby player, he played for Wales U18s before his life took a different turn and I’m sure he would add a huge amount of experience and leadership qualities to that squad.

“I think a lot of people would love to see him back playing his rugby in Wales again.”

Do you think Ruddock would be a good option for Wales?

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