Test rugby gets shake-up as World Rugby agrees to transfer changes

Test rugby as we know it will radically change from January 1 next year after World Rugby council approved an amendment to the sport’s eligibility regulations governing national team representation.

It will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birthright.

A three-step criteria will be applied for a player to change: The player must stand down from international rugby for 36 months, the player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country, and a player may only change union once. Each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby regulations committee to preserve the integrity.

According to World Rugby, any player who meets the above eligibility criteria can apply for an immediate transfer on January 1. The revised regulation eight revisions will also see all players ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify and improve understanding and compliance.

Approval of the amended regulation followed requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within the regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.