English journalist takes aim at Scotland and Ireland in petty rant

Here we go again.

It’s that time of the year again when eligibility laws are once again brought into question with the Six Nations championship now well underway.

Ireland currently lead the table with maximum points so far having secured bonus-point wins over France, Italy, and Wales – with Scotland behind them in second.

Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup last weekend Duhan van der Merwe bagging a hat-trick at Murrayfield to sink Steve Borthwick’s side and it appears the English aren’t too happy about it.

The Telegraph’s chief sports writer, Oliver Brown decided to have a go at Duhan and the Scots as the winger was indeed born in South Africa having completed his residency back in 2020.

‘Take last weekend’s Calcutta Cup, a contest electrified by Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe, whose name hardly suggests a rugged clan from the Cairngorms,” Brown wrote.

“Not that the issue can ever be reduced to a single player. Of the 39-man squad selected this year by Gregor Townsend to wear Scottish blue, an astonishing 23 were born elsewhere.”

Several of Ireland’s players have also used the residency laws to play for the men in green, and Brown isn’t too chuffed about that either with England set to take on Andy Farrell’s side in Round 4.

“Even the Irish, heralded as the gold standard in everything they touch, know what it means to exploit rugby’s nebulous definitions of nationhood,” Brown adds.

“Bundee Aki, James Lowe, and Jamison Gibson-Park are three players who have underpinned Ireland’s transformation into Grand Slam winners and, for a while, the world’s No 1-ranked side.

“But all of them were integrated from New Zealand’s professional rugby system, targeted well into adulthood for moves to Ireland so that they could fulfill the residency rules. Lowe is about as Irish as McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, coming to the country when he was 25 and having played for the Maori All Blacks against the British and Irish Lions.

“Here is a player who, on recognising in his mid-20s that he was never going to realise his All Black dreams, swapped Nelson for Dublin on the assurance that he would be wearing green three years later. The decision, while an emphatic success for his CV, casts an unflattering reflection on the romance of Test rugby.”

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