Friday 13 December 2019

'I don't want to see CJ Stander playing for Ireland' - Paul Kimmage Newsdesk Newsdesk

Award-winning sports journalist Paul Kimmage has hit out at the three-year residency rule which allows foreign-born players to play rugby for Ireland.

The Sunday Independent columnist spoke to Rory McIlroy in an insightful and absorbing interview in recent weeks.

One of the subjects they touched on was the dilemma the 27-year-old had when it was announced the golf would be returning to the Olympic Games.

McIlroy pulled out of golf’s return to the Olympics last year, citing his concerns about the Zika virus but it was clear that it was not the full story and he told Kimmage that he 'resented' the Olympic Games because it made him choose between Great Britain and Ireland and he was ' Northern Irish'.

Speaking about the issue of nationality in sport,  Kimmage said that he did not like the fact that CJ Stander, Jared Payne and Richardt Strauss are playing ahead of Irish born players on Joe Schmidt's team.

"I don't want to see him playing for Ireland. I don't want to see it, " he told The Last Word on Today FM.

"I totally agree that he has fronted up for Munster and his buying into the whole Ireland thing but he is still depriving someone who is born and raised here of playing in that position and I think that should be the bottom line."

Former Ireland international Paul Wallace believes the residency rule should be extended to five years and slammed the practice of headhunting young players from the Southern Hemisphere

"I have played with a lot of players who have never lived in Ireland before and came here in their 20s to play. Some had Irish parents or grandparents. The likes of Dion O'Cuinneagain who captained Ireland at the 1999 World Cup," he said.

"I think it was a different time when I played and they would have came over, early on in the amateur era, with the likes of Andy Ward who won the European Cup with Ulster.

"For me, playing with those players... they fully bought into being Irish.

"I think one of the issues now is that it has come down to money. It's not just a case of this happening in Ireland. You have a number of Polynesians now playing on the French side.

"The Vunipola brothers whose father was in Wales and played underage for Wales and they brought off to a school in England and hence came up through the English system.

"They are really going out there and hunting players, not just when they're developed and in their early 20s but as schoolboys which I think is horrific."

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