Hardwick will be available for Namibia for the World Cup

Richard Hardwick has spoken about his decision to switch from playing for Australia to Namibia.

The call was made after former Australia coach Dave Rennie told him they were going in a different direction than him. The Melbourne Rebels flanker wanted international game time and so pivoted to Namibia.

Under World Rugby’s eligibility rules Hardwick could make the switch as he has not played for Australia since 2017. He won his first cap in 2017 and only picked up one more before falling out of favour.

Hardwick won his first cap for Namibia, his country of birth, in 2022.

At the World Cup, Namibia will face New Zealand, France, Italy and Uruguay in the pool stage. Their first match will be against Italy on 9 September.

Richard Hardwick: What has the player said?

“I was talking to Rennie and they just wanted to go down a different direction, younger players and a different style of rugby that’s not ideally suited for me, which is fine,” Hardwick told Rugby.com.au.

“So I just took things in my own hands – there’s a few things in my life that I’d love to accomplish before retiring and I’m not getting any younger so the opportunity came up last year in November to go over and play for Namibia and potentially get a crack at a World Cup so I wasn’t going to wait around.”

And he added: “I think I can do a lot of good in Namibian rugby, not only representing them, but in developing, I can bring my experience from Australian rugby and at an international level as well.

“It was also pretty special for my dad, he represented Namibia for cricket and golf and squash so that’s pretty special to have two generations who have played for the country.”

Hardwick is not the only player to switch countries since the rules changed. Jack Dempsey used to play for Australia but he moved to compete for Scotland. He will line up at No. 8 for Gregor Townsend’s side against Ireland in the 2023 Six Nations.

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