Wednesday 22 November 2017

New law won't halt Ireland call for Aki

Connacht's Bundee Aki. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Bundee Aki. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Irish rugby's latest raft of imminently qualified project players will not have their eligibility affected if World Rugby, as is expected, change the law next month.

The governing body will bow to pressure and begin the process of eradicating the controversial residency ruling by extending the qualification period from the current three years to five at their next council meeting.

However, presuming the new measure, backed heavily by vice-president Agustin Pichot, is passed, there will be a grace period for players who are currently in the middle of a qualification period.

That means that players such as Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal, Connacht hooker Tom McCartney and midfield cult hero Bundee Aki, as well as Ulster prop Wiehahn Herbst, will still be able to pull on a green jersey when they qualify next season.

Ireland already have a number of similar players operating at the moment, including CJ Stander and Jared Payne, although some, including Ronan O'Gara, are on record as saying that the controversial rule should be extended to ten years.

Irish Independent

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