World Rugby change eligibility rules for residency players

From the end of 2020, player are required to spend five consecutive years in the country

World Rugby change eligibility rules for residency players

Jared Payne and CJ Stander have both played for Ireland through the residency rule. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

World Rugby have made it tougher for players to play international rugby through residency. 

Three years was all that was needed for players to become eligible to play for their new country. A World Rugby meeting in Japan has now extended that rule to five years. 

Numerous international teams have taken advantage of the rule in recent years. Ireland stalwarts Jared Payne and CJ Stander are two such examples of players switching international allegiances via the residency rule.

The reformed Regulation 8 will come into law at the end of 2020. That means the likes of Bundee Aki and Tyler Bleyendaal could both play for Ireland within three years of arriving in the country.

Along with the five years of consistent residency, World Rugby have confirmed any player who has ten years of total residency in any country will also become eligible. That rule comes into force at the end of this month.

“This reform of Regulation 8 governing eligibility is an important and necessary step to protecting the integrity and credibility of international rugby", World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said.

"This extension to the residency period within a forward-thinking reform package will ensure a close, credible and established link between a union and players, which is good for rugby and good for fans."

The rules change was the brainchild for World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustin Pichot. The former Argentinian scrum-half spoke after the decision was made.