Players could change the side they play for from 2022

World Rugby approves eligibility amendment to allow national switch

World Rugby have approved the birth right amendment, giving players an opportunity to switch which nation they play for.

It comes into affect in 2022 and will override the rule that players can only compete for one country. There are strict regulations players will have to go through to make the move.

From January 2022, in order to switch nations a player must:

  • Stand-down from international rugby for 36 months.
  • Be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country.

A player can also only move nations once and the amendment applies for men and women’s 15s and sevens rugby. It has been brought in after requests from emerging nations and discussions with players.

What has been said about the amendment?

The governing body has said it will help the development of some countries in the game. Chairman Bill Beaumont says it will support rugby.

“Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game,” he said. “We have listened to our membership and players. Sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game…

“We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first. While also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”

International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein, added they have worked for years to pass the amendment.

“Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth. This serves as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.”

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