Eligibility back on the agenda



  • Do you have any idea at all about the demographic of the NZ make up? Here's a heads up. Tonga has a population of 100,000. NZ has a Tongan population of around 75,000. No familial ties you say?

    There are something like 6m people in Great Britain with Irish passport entitlements. I have one family member living over there, and if I had a kid going over to Manchester that would be shag all us to them.

    To the substantive point Aki will only play for Ireland because he is being paid to do so. He did that after failing to break through for NZ. That is fair enough.

    Fekitoa has long held the ambition to play for NZ despite not being eligible to do so. That is presumably on the basis that they are the best team in the world and playing for them is a key to a lot of riches and fame. Maybe those latter motives are purer. Fair enough.



  • @mariner4life said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Nepia of course he is. The Irish are remarkably sensitive about their state-sanctioned poaching agenda.

    Probably because most of their poaches are decidedly average

    A fair point, ye must be better at it than us....



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Do you have any idea at all about the demographic of the NZ make up? Here's a heads up. Tonga has a population of 100,000. NZ has a Tongan population of around 75,000. No familial ties you say?

    There are something like 6m people in Great Britain with Irish passport entitlements.

    You do realise that Irish citizenship is one of the easiest in the world to be eligible for?

    The bit you possibly fail to understand is the unusual dynamic between NZ and some Pacific Islands. A young player could be born second generation in NZ but still have a very strong identity with their pacific heritage. They could even be sent over to the islands in their pre-school years to be looked after by members of the extended family. Their rugby heroes and team affiliation can be to both their country of birth and that of family.
    I imagine that as a kid Fekitoa grew up worshipping the likes of NZ born Tongan Jonah Lomu and would aspire to being like him.
    If he was setting himself a goal in life it would be the highest achievable and knowing he could become NZ eligible while gaining experience that would be a valid target.
    A longer eligibility period isn't going to help much in these cases. If a kid from Tonga wants to play professional rugby they still have to get experience somewhere. By the time their experience is at a level for possible further honours a lot of the time has already been served so their choice is to play immediately for their birth country or wait another year and have a better option.



  • @semper rugby? Indeed



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    No. Fekitoa's scholarship made no difference to his eligibility to play for NZ. He was ineligible. He only became eligible because he was given three years of professional work in NZ - he got a significant portion of that work from two Super Rugby teams.

    The NZR actually provides professional pathways for PI eligible players.



  • @Crucial said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Do you have any idea at all about the demographic of the NZ make up? Here's a heads up. Tonga has a population of 100,000. NZ has a Tongan population of around 75,000. No familial ties you say?

    There are something like 6m people in Great Britain with Irish passport entitlements.

    You do realise that Irish citizenship is one of the easiest in the world to be eligible for?

    The bit you possibly fail to understand is the unusual dynamic between NZ and some Pacific Islands. A young player could be born second generation in NZ but still have a very strong identity with their pacific heritage. They could even be sent over to the islands in their pre-school years to be looked after by members of the extended family. Their rugby heroes and team affiliation can be to both their country of birth and that of family.
    I imagine that as a kid Fekitoa grew up worshipping the likes of NZ born Tongan Jonah Lomu and would aspire to being like him.
    If he was setting himself a goal in life it would be the highest achievable and knowing he could become NZ eligible while gaining experience that would be a valid target.
    A longer eligibility period isn't going to help much in these cases. If a kid from Tonga wants to play professional rugby they still have to get experience somewhere. By the time their experience is at a level for possible further honours a lot of the time has already been served so their choice is to play immediately for their birth country or wait another year and have a better option.

    I get the logic entirely. Irish cricketers go through this a lot, if they want to make it big, declare for England. The one difference I suppose is that Irish cricketers can not play Test cricket.

    Irish citizenship isn't even one of the easiest to get in the EU never mind the world.



  • @antipodean said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    No. Fekitoa's scholarship made no difference to his eligibility to play for NZ. He was ineligible. He only became eligible because he was given three years of professional work in NZ - he got a significant portion of that work from two Super Rugby teams.

    The NZR actually provides professional pathways for PI eligible players.

    Ah. My apologies. If Fekitoa had played for Tonga in 2013 it would have made no odds to his future in New Zealand rugby.



  • @MajorRage said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Pot-Hale Thanks - good response.

    Yes, I am aware of what pundit arena is, but I thought that article was as good as anything else out there & it's certainly not devoid of fact. Remember this is a quote from Aki himself - ""That's a big part of my decision to move. Hopefully when the time is right and if I'm playing good footy, hopefully I can play for the Ireland international team."

    Lam seems to be hugely popular up north. Which I do fine quite odd, as he struggled here.

    Indeed. I find him to be a straight up, plain talking coach whose passion for the game and for the team he's coaching is highly admirable. To go to a development province in Ireland, on the outer in terms of financing, support and pedigree and turn it around to make them PRO12 champions is remarkable. He also found the time to learn some of the Irish language, always started every TV interview with a greeting in Irish, reached out to every county in the province, some of whom had little or knowledge of rugby, and get them all to buy in and along with Connacht CEO, Ruane, contributed to the club's development strategy Grassroots to Greenshirts. I have the utmost of respect for him and wish him only the best in his move to Bristol. His interview on the reasons for the move are another mark of the man - frank, honest and revealing in terms of his priorities for his own personal health, his family, and his own ambitions.



  • @mariner4life said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Nepia of course he is. The Irish are remarkably sensitive about their state-sanctioned poaching agenda.

    Probably because most of their poaches are decidedly average

    State-sanctioned? The Irish government has nothing to do with how professional sport is run in the country.



  • @Pot-Hale said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @mariner4life said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Nepia of course he is. The Irish are remarkably sensitive about their state-sanctioned poaching agenda.

    Probably because most of their poaches are decidedly average

    State-sanctioned? The Irish government has nothing to do with how professional sport is run in the country.

    They do have to issue the visas and work permits that make it possible though.



  • @Crucial said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Pot-Hale said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @mariner4life said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Nepia of course he is. The Irish are remarkably sensitive about their state-sanctioned poaching agenda.

    Probably because most of their poaches are decidedly average

    State-sanctioned? The Irish government has nothing to do with how professional sport is run in the country.

    They do have to issue the visas and work permits that make it possible though.

    That's rubbish. If you are paid more than about 35k a year and your employer can string a sentence together about how you can't recruit some one locally with that skill set you'll get an Irish visa. For a rugby player that is not a hard bar to jump.

    Would a work permit have been required in Fekitoa's case?



  • @MajorRage said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Firstly, to be clear, I am not a fan of Fekitoa playing for the All Blacks either. I understand that people make life choices for whatever reason and I respect that - just like I respect Aki's decison.

    But what you are talking about is not the same situation. I've seen early interviews with Fekitoa which I've not been comfortable with either - those a young man from Tonga stating clearly that he wants to play for the All Blacks, and also saying that he would only play for Tonga, if he could't make the All Blacks. I don't really like that either.

    Are you comfortable with the ones that go the other way. Guys like Kahn Fotuali'i have interview where they talk about when they decided to give up on chasing the AB dream, TNW basically said during the 2015 Super season he was going to use the 7s loophole if he didn't make the ABs this year.

    For every Fekitoa or Seta there are 10 Winston Stanleys and Paul Williams.



  • @rotated said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @MajorRage said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Firstly, to be clear, I am not a fan of Fekitoa playing for the All Blacks either. I understand that people make life choices for whatever reason and I respect that - just like I respect Aki's decison.

    But what you are talking about is not the same situation. I've seen early interviews with Fekitoa which I've not been comfortable with either - those a young man from Tonga stating clearly that he wants to play for the All Blacks, and also saying that he would only play for Tonga, if he could't make the All Blacks. I don't really like that either.

    Are you comfortable with the ones that go the other way. Guys like Kahn Fotuali'i have interview where they talk about when they decided to give up on chasing the AB dream, TNW basically said during the 2015 Super season he was going to use the 7s loophole if he didn't make the ABs this year.

    For every Fekitoa or Seta there are 10 Winston Stanleys and Paul Williams.

    I've no problem with it. Improves the competitiveness of world rugby and rights a wrong of globalisation and colonialism.



  • @Pot-Hale said in Eligibility back on the agenda:
    My point was that the provinces identify the players, not the IRFU.

    Even if that is the case, which I highly doubt it is, why that is even relevant.

    Whether or not the IRFU are specifically saying to the Connacht go after that Counties centre or to Leinster go get JGP is irrelevant. They set a criteria for a certain type of player, and acting in their best interests the clubs are going to fill that slot with the best player available to them. Win/win.

    In interviews with Gibson-Park after he left he made his signing seem like an initiative from the IRFU as much as Lienster.

    We know the IRFU were knees deep in the Aki resigning with Schmidt and Nucifora on record as having been involved in the negotiations. So it's not too much of a stretch to think those at HQ have been involved in new signings too.

    The IRFU are hardly at an arms length on this as you seem to be suggesting.

    I'll be curious to see how far the Irish push it if Pichot's reforms fail wouldn't put it past them to try and sneak Saili through the 7s loophole if/when the time comes.



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Crucial said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Pot-Hale said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @mariner4life said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Nepia of course he is. The Irish are remarkably sensitive about their state-sanctioned poaching agenda.

    Probably because most of their poaches are decidedly average

    State-sanctioned? The Irish government has nothing to do with how professional sport is run in the country.

    They do have to issue the visas and work permits that make it possible though.

    That's rubbish. If you are paid more than about 35k a year and your employer can string a sentence together about how you can't recruit some one locally with that skill set you'll get an Irish visa. For a rugby player that is not a hard bar to jump.

    Would a work permit have been required in Fekitoa's case?

    It isn't rubbish at all, I was merely stating a fact. The state agrees to the import of a rugby player by issuing a visa.
    I never said they ONLY do it for project players or even implied that there is anything different here than how others are treated.
    By the way, a quick glance at the Irish Immigration website tells me that a simple work permit wouldn't do the trick. There is a special sports and arts category, the initial visa only lasts for 2 years (but can be extended).
    So it seems that a certain category of person IS actually offered a different deal to the average worker.
    NZ has a very similar programme however Fekitoa would also have been possibly granted residence under the the Pacific Access immigration programme which has no relationship to sports.



  • @semper you asked if there was a substantive difference, I provided it, you then changed tact.



  • I see the difference as
    (a)
    to deliberately look overseas for players ,

    (B) And to pick players in your backyard that are already there ,

    While (b) still needs looking at with guys that are questionable , to poach from another country is on another level ,



  • @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper you asked if there was a substantive difference, I provided it, you then changed tact.

    I don't see that as being a substantive, meaningful difference.



  • @semper nothing substantive or meaningful about a guy who already moved to another country vs a guy who moved just to play rugby? Sure ok. Not on the troll at all.



  • @kiwiinmelb said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    I see the difference as
    (a)
    to deliberately look overseas for players ,

    (B) And to pick players in your backyard that are already there ,

    While (b) still needs looking at with guys that are questionable , to poach from another country is on another level ,

    In the case of (a) it is a flow of players who can't play with better rugby countries to weaker rugby countries and in the case of (b) it is a flow of players from weaker rugby countries to better rugby countries.

    One is intentional and the other apparently is not, although I suspect the NZRFU were as knees deep in Fekitoa's contract with Highlanders as anything the IRFU have done.



  • @Bones said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper nothing substantive or meaningful about a guy who already moved to another country vs a guy who moved just to play rugby? Sure ok. Not on the troll at all.

    Fekitoa moved to New Zealand to play rugby. Nothing more or less. He wasn't in New Zealand because of family or any nonews rugby related reasons. His alternative option according to himself appears to have been to go to Australia to play league but a school scholarship seems to have been more attractive. Hmmm....



  • I'll be curious to see how far the Irish push it if Pichot's reforms fail wouldn't put it past them to try and sneak Saili through the 7s loophole if/when the time comes.

    Saili would have to firstly not be injured all the time, and get a good run of games in where he was more than a show pony. Once he did that then he would need to go back in time and stop himself getting his two senior All Black caps.



  • There won't be any changes to the residency rules while countries highlight other people's behaviour as the problem and don't acknowledge any issue with their own.

    The only top tier country that has clean hands on this is Argentinia and that is because they didn't have any professional structures that would have meant there were any foreigners hanging around there for three years plus playing rugby.



  • @semper what a 15/16yr old school boy vs a guy in his 20's and already a pro rugby player, righto, although I guess they both play rugby, so valid comparison afterall.

    I wonder why they dont tie schoolboys to the country they play for at 7s or 15s...



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being eligible...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being ...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    So one is about a kid being moved from their home place to ...

    Hmmm ... That language is reminiscent of the type of argument used around poaching in the 00s. Fekitoa was not forced to move. Seems indicative of an in grained attitude.



  • @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper what a school boy vs a guy in his 20's and already a pro rugby player, righto.

    I wonder why they dont tie schoolboys to the country they play for at 7s or 15s...

    Presumably because as a kid you have diminished decision making capacity?



  • @semper and yet you are comparing the 2 situations saying there is no substantiative difference?



  • @booboo said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being eligible...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being ...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    So one is about a kid being moved from their home place to ...

    Hmmm ... That language is reminiscent of the type of argument used around poaching in the 00s. Fekitoa was not forced to move. Seems indicative of an in grained attitude.

    No one said he was forced to move and it has worked out very well for him.

    As a rule I think moving youngsters around to play rugby or soccer or Aussie rules isn't in their general best interests - they've about 50 years to live after they stop playing sport and a proper education will help them more in the vast majority of cases.



  • @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper and yet you are comparing the 2 situations saying there is no substantiative difference?

    A fair point, but a reason why schooling should not count towards residency in either the actuality or the subsequent justifications?

    I'm also interested in the three years after school where he was on various rugby contracts by bodies controlled by the NZRFU. Do you think that Fekitoa would have, prior to getting residncy

    (A) Received exactly the same contracts if he had declared for Tonga;

    (B) received a better one if he had declared for Tonga; or

    (C) received a worse one if he had played for Tonga?

    In the case of Aki, if he was to announce tomorrow he was to play for another country, he would probably receive the same contract from Connacht but would be operating under a system where he would only have a two year horizon before being moved on.



  • @semper who knows, it is all hypothetical, plus some use that pathway of getting into super rugby, get the exposure for a big Euro contract too.

    NZ Rugby has had plenty of players over the years that have forged out careers in NPC and Super rugby while playing for another country early on.



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @kiwiinmelb said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    I see the difference as
    (a)
    to deliberately look overseas for players ,

    (B) And to pick players in your backyard that are already there ,

    While (b) still needs looking at with guys that are questionable , to poach from another country is on another level ,

    In the case of (a) it is a flow of players who can't play with better rugby countries to weaker rugby countries and in the case of (b) it is a flow of players from weaker rugby countries to better rugby countries.

    One is intentional and the other apparently is not, although I suspect the NZRFU were as knees deep in Fekitoa's contract with Highlanders as anything the IRFU have done.

    My point was different levels of being morally wrong , both wrong though , and both need to be looked at .
    Most in NZ welcome the idea of eligibility rules being tightened , maybe if our depth wasn't great you would see some opposition to that , I'm not sure , but the general feeling here is it needs to be tighter, we welcome it .



  • @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper who knows, it is all hypothetical, plus some use that pathway of getting into super rugby, get the exposure for a big Euro contract too.

    NZ Rugby has had plenty of players over the years that have forged out careers in NPC and Super rugby while playing for another country early on.

    Hmmm. I just find the unwillingness to see any issues with players like Fekitoa in the national team odd. There seems to be a defensiveness about this whole topic that in unwarranted.

    The only person who seems willing to acknowledge any issue is MajorRage.



  • Can I flick back on topic here for a sec rather than arguing semantics about who is the moe egregious poacher (when it's obviously Ireland).

    The fact that we're having this argument at all confirms the system is currently open to abuse.

    It needs tightening up and even if the full raft of changes don't come in this time any tightening is a move in the right direction and we can hope additional rrestrictions get added incrementally.

    Also, @semper with regard to passport/citizenship whilst I agree with your intent i can see thst open to abuse where rules are bent. Add it as a criterria to the criteria set by WR but not as the single qualifying standard.



  • @kiwiinmelb said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @kiwiinmelb said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    I see the difference as
    (a)
    to deliberately look overseas for players ,

    (B) And to pick players in your backyard that are already there ,

    While (b) still needs looking at with guys that are questionable , to poach from another country is on another level ,

    In the case of (a) it is a flow of players who can't play with better rugby countries to weaker rugby countries and in the case of (b) it is a flow of players from weaker rugby countries to better rugby countries.

    One is intentional and the other apparently is not, although I suspect the NZRFU were as knees deep in Fekitoa's contract with Highlanders as anything the IRFU have done.

    My point was different levels of being morally wrong , both wrong though , and both need to be looked at .
    Most in NZ welcome the idea of eligibility rules being tightened , maybe if our depth wasn't great you would see some opposition to that , I'm not sure , but the general feeling here is it needs to be tighter, we welcome it .

    A very fair point. You would find few people in other rugby countries unwilling to engage with such an approach and rationale.



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @booboo said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being eligible...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being ...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    So one is about a kid being moved from their home place to ...

    Hmmm ... That language is reminiscent of the type of argument used around poaching in the 00s. Fekitoa was not forced to move. Seems indicative of an in grained attitude.

    No one said he was forced to move and it has worked out very well for him.

    As a rule I think moving youngsters around to play rugby or soccer or Aussie rules isn't in their general best interests - they've about 50 years to live after they stop playing sport and a proper education will help them more in the vast majority of cases.

    "being moved" suggests someone is impelling him to do so. "moving" would have been more appropriate if you didn't want to give the impression that he was being forced.



  • @semper I never said I was comfortable or uncomfortable with the likes of Fekitoa, Tamanivalu or Sivivatu before him, that wasnt the point you made iniitially that I responded to.



  • Also, @semper with regard to passport/citizenship whilst I agree with your intent i can see thst open to abuse where rules are bent. Add it as a criterria to the criteria set by WR but not as the single qualifying standard.

    3 years adult residency and a passport;
    Birth;
    Parent born in the country and holding a passport;
    Grandparent born in the country and holding a passport.

    UK countries use the same principles as in soccer.



  • @booboo said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @booboo said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being eligible...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Aki was already a professional rugby player, unattached to any nation when he went to Ireland, Fekitoa was a school boy when he came to NZ, at which time he was a good 4+years off being ...that is a substantial difference I'd of thought?

    So one is about a kid being moved from their home place to ...

    Hmmm ... That language is reminiscent of the type of argument used around poaching in the 00s. Fekitoa was not forced to move. Seems indicative of an in grained attitude.

    No one said he was forced to move and it has worked out very well for him.

    As a rule I think moving youngsters around to play rugby or soccer or Aussie rules isn't in their general best interests - they've about 50 years to live after they stop playing sport and a proper education will help them more in the vast majority of cases.

    "being moved" suggests someone is impelling him to do so. "moving" would have been more appropriate if you didn't want to give the impression that he was being forced.

    Fair enough.



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Also, @semper with regard to passport/citizenship whilst I agree with your intent i can see thst open to abuse where rules are bent. Add it as a criterria to the criteria set by WR but not as the single qualifying standard.

    3 years adult residency and a passport;
    Birth;
    Parent born in the country and holding a passport;
    Grandparent born in the country and holding a passport.

    UK countries use the same principles as in soccer.

    Yes. But make it 5 years 🙂



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:
    I suspect the NZRFU were as knees deep in Fekitoa's contract with Highlanders as anything the IRFU have done.

    You suspect wrong. For a kid who was MVP of the national 7s tournament in 2012 he didn't get a Super contract until 2013. That contract was with the Blues and he got absolutely no support from his own franchise coaches let a lone the national set up. Went to the Clan and things started from there.


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