World Rugby Boss Slams Three-Year Residency Rule

RBS 6 Nations Championship Round 1, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 7/2/2016 Ireland vs Wales Ireland's CJ Stander Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

RBS 6 Nations Championship Round 1, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 7/2/2016
Ireland vs Wales
Ireland’s CJ Stander
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper yesterday defended the governing body’s recent decision not to extend the residency rule to five years.

Newly-elected vice-chairman and former Argentinian international Agustín Pichot however, has slammed the regulation, stating that he believes “it is wrong.”

“We need to change it,” said former Argentina scrum-half Pichot. “Somebody will kill me, but we need to change it.

“This is my personal opinion – I think it is wrong. It should be for life, like in football. But, I understand maybe a five-year [qualification period] and it has been discussed and I think it will be on the agenda in the next six months.

“It’s not an urgent part, but it is very important to keep the identity of your national team; it’s very important.

“It’s a cultural thing and an inspiration to young kids. When you have on your team all players who haven’t lived in the country that they represent, it’s not great.

“There are special cases when people move when they’re 10 years old or whatever, but going back to a country when a player is taken, like they are doing now, from an academy in Tonga and putting him to play, say, in an Ireland shirt. I’m against it, I think it’s not right.

“I would love him to play for Tonga, to make money in Tonga and live well. When I see the national anthem and people not singing it, it confuses me a little bit.

“I don’t see in the near future Argentina having players from other countries. That could change and I’m not the owner of Argentinian rugby. The board could say ‘today, we’re going to have an Argentinian Fijian’.

“I haven’t seen one in Argentina, but maybe one day we’ll bring one and he’s playing in Japan at the [2019] World Cup, but I don’t see it happening. It’s a decision that countries take.”

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