World Rugby CEO says the influx of foreign-born players has not cheapened the international game

Players such as CJ Stander and Jared Payne have represented Ireland after qualifying through residency

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Brett Gosper Chief Executive World Rugby Mandatory Credit ©Inpho/Billy Stickland

The legitimacy of international rugby is still there for all to see according to Brett Gosper, the CEO of World Rugby.

Gosper was speaking in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon after former England international Bill Beaumont was elected as World Rugby Chairman. Agustin Pichot, the former Argentina scrum-half will be the Vice-Chairman.

Three-years is to remain as the amount of time needed by a player to qualify to play for a country through residency. Gosper revealed that the member unions did not want to make it tougher for players to qualify to play in the international game.

"There didn't seem to be any appetite to change it. There was a consultation with the unions. At this stage, it will all be the status-quo in that area."

"That is the current view of the membership of the unions, to look at three years. We're not going to stop looking at it. We will always monitor whether we think it's good for the international game. Right now, in the current climate, we believe it's the right level."

Gosper added that the World Rugby hierarchy will respect the view of the member unions, but added they had the power to make changes if they felt the international brand was being damaged.

"If there is a strong will at the Executive Committee level to make changes, that is possible. It's not just always the voting of the great masses. If there is a will to do something, then leadership has to drive that. We will look at these things as we go forward."

The new World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont with vice-chairman Agustin Pichot.  Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The former Australian under-age international said that World Rugby will listen to the fans when it comes the public perception of the international game.

"When people don't believe they are watching bona-fide international matches, then you got problems. We have no sign of that. The integrity of the image of the sport as an international sport, with bona-fide players and countries playing against each other is definitely intact."

In recent years, foreign-born players have gained international caps after originally moving to a country to play the club game. Players like CJ Stander and Jared Payne, have undoubtedly improved the Irish team, and players with southern hemisphere backgrounds are beginning to feature for teams in the Six Nations.

Despite some of the team's star players coming from foreign shores, Gosper insists that there has been no backlash from fans over watching a diluted game.

"The erosion we would judge by is what the fans feel. You have just seen a World Cup where the fans are not thinking that this is a hoax. This is bona-fide international games, with international players. This may be re-looked at in the near future but it is there to be re-looked at."

It was also announced on Wednesday afternoon, that the draw for the 2019 World Cup will take place in May 2017 in Japan. Ireland's remaining games that will count towards their World Ranking will conclude after the Six Nations next year.

Joe Schmidt's side are currently seventh in the world and face the risk of dropping to third seeds ahead of the World Cup. Ireland have 12 games remaining before the ranking's cut-off including a three-test series in South Africa and two tests against New Zealand this Autumn.

Twelve teams including Ireland, hosts Japan and champions New Zealand have already qualified for the tournament.