RFU Reveals Their Stance On The Three Year Residency Rule


The English Rugby Football Union will vote to extend the three-year residency rule in rugby to five years.

England have taken advantage of the rule in recent years, with Nathan Hughes being the most recent notable example. Ireland have also benefitted greatly from the rule with the additions of the likes of CJ Stander and Jared Payne to their playing roster.

World Rugby is due to vote on the issue in May after launching a review involving consultation with 126 unions last November.


Any proposal for change is likely to face considerable opposition, as it did when the issue was last raised following the 2015 World Cup, but the RFU is determined to argue the case and hinted that it may impose its own five-year rule even if it is voted down.

Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive, confirmed for the first time that the governing body would advocate extending the qualification period.

“Our view will be, and this is subject to further discussion but it’s coming up soon, that a five-year qualification is the optimum position to be in,” said Ritchie.

“There are other countries who will take a different view, I think, and that’s up to them.”

Unions are free to impose their own qualification rules above the current three-year minimum laid down by World Rugby and in December the French Rugby Federation said it would no longer go on the three-year residency rule but instead would require players to possess a French passport.

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