Joe Schmidt Has His Say On The Residency Rule & Ireland’s Foreign Recruitment
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Ireland’s foreign recruitment policy and the residency rule have been hot topic lately.
Luke Fitzgerald has blasted the rule and Ireland’s use of it in the wake of Bundee Aki’s new deal with Connacht which should see him become part of Schmidt’s plans next October, while current internationals such as Johnny Sexton have backed it and Ireland.
The latest to comment is none other than Ireland boss, Joe Schmidt. Schmidt says the current crop of players are in favour of the rule and underlines the big step it is for a player in the modern era to commit to a country for three years of what is an increasingly short profession.
My perception is that there are a couple of people who have been outspoken about it but…the majority of people want Ireland to be as competitive as they can be. That includes the players. If you spoke to the current team, they would want the best players available.
The average professional rugby career would be about five years probably? The best players go a lot longer than that but for a player to commit three years to qualify somewhere is a pretty big commitment. at the same time, in our current squad, what number are we talking about? Indigenous players still dominate, massively.
Schmidt interestingly did however admit that an indigenous player might get the nod if a selection decision hangs in the balance:
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t conscious of it. It is difficult for me to comment on. I feel a bit like a Plastic Paddy myself…I do think that if it is not a clear-cut decision you would tend to favour the indigenous player. I do. But I do believe that players want to be as competitive as they can be. And I am charged with the responsibility of trying to help whoever is available for Ireland to be the best team they can be.
What do you think of the residency rule? Should it be more than three years and are Ireland abusing it?