Eligibility back on the agenda



  • Like anything, I think the key to finding the answer is to define the problem.

    In my eyes the problem is when players that have been developed by one country have circumstances where they can use the current rules to benefit themselves and another country.
    Secondly there is the issue of stronger/richer countries sucking potential talent from weaker/poorer countries which only serves to maintain the situation and promotes an elite level in the game.

    The trick is then writing rules that relieve these issues without unfairly capturing genuine player movement and restraining trade.



  • @Crucial said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Like anything, I think the key to finding the answer is to define the problem.

    In my eyes the problem is when players that have been developed by one country have circumstances where they can use the current rules to benefit themselves and another country.
    Secondly there is the issue of stronger/richer countries sucking potential talent from weaker/poorer countries which only serves to maintain the situation and promotes an elite level in the game.

    The trick is then writing rules that relieve these issues without unfairly capturing genuine player movement and restraining trade.

    It's taken us a long while to get there, but that's it really.



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Catogrande said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper I think you raise some valid points but then again there is the situations like Rockoduguni in England. I'm not sure that he currently has citizenship or has applied for it for that matter. Yet he is a member of our armed forces and could be called upon to fight or die for our country. If he can do that he can fucking well play rugby for us that's for sure.

    If the UK government don't believe the likes of Rockoduguni deserve UK subject status then they really shouldn't be allowed represent one of the UK territories in rugby.

    Not speaking specifically about his case, but what I presume the intention of reforming the rules is to remove 'mercenaries' from the international game. People who are willing to fight and risk their lives for a foreign country due to pay and conditions offered are mercenaries.

    To be honest I don't know whether or not Rockoduguni has attained UK citizen status, whether he has even applied for it or whether or not the UK Government has refused it or does not allow it, but notwithstanding any of that, if he or anyone else is willing to serve in our armed forces then he's also welcome to represent us in something a little less dangerous. Like rugby.

    There is a long tradition of Fijian service in the UK forces, as there is Nepalese, NZ, Australia etc etc. If these blokes have an affinity with serving in a standing army, on the same pay, conditions and duties as the rest of the standing army, that makes them soldiers not mercenaries. If someone decides to fight as a non-regular soldier, for a specially collated force at different pay and conditions for s short term contract, then you are entitled to call them mercenaries. And if you do I hope you get the response you want from them. Good luck with that.



  • @Catogrande said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Catogrande said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper I think you raise some valid points but then again there is the situations like Rockoduguni in England. I'm not sure that he currently has citizenship or has applied for it for that matter. Yet he is a member of our armed forces and could be called upon to fight or die for our country. If he can do that he can fucking well play rugby for us that's for sure.

    If the UK government don't believe the likes of Rockoduguni deserve UK subject status then they really shouldn't be allowed represent one of the UK territories in rugby.

    Not speaking specifically about his case, but what I presume the intention of reforming the rules is to remove 'mercenaries' from the international game. People who are willing to fight and risk their lives for a foreign country due to pay and conditions offered are mercenaries.

    To be honest I don't know whether or not Rockoduguni has attained UK citizen status, whether he has even applied for it or whether or not the UK Government has refused it or does not allow it, but notwithstanding any of that, if he or anyone else is willing to serve in our armed forces then he's also welcome to represent us in something a little less dangerous. Like rugby.

    There is a long tradition of Fijian service in the UK forces, as there is Nepalese, NZ, Australia etc etc. If these blokes have an affinity with serving in a standing army, on the same pay, conditions and duties as the rest of the standing army, that makes them soldiers not mercenaries. If someone decides to fight as a non-regular soldier, for a specially collated force at different pay and conditions for s short term contract, then you are entitled to call them mercenaries. And if you do I hope you get the response you want from them. Good luck with that.

    I disagree but if that's your view fair enough.



  • @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @kiwiinmelb said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rapido said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rancid-Schnitzel said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rancid-Schnitzel think it was just longer because he came here when he was 15, and the clock for 3 year eligibility only started when he left school (or 18?)

    He was 23 when he first played for the abs so it must have been 5 years after he turned 18. He definitely would have been selected earlier if available. Seems a bit unfair.

    Moving under the age of 18 without parents (eg a scholarship, boarding school arrangement) doesn't count towards residency. Therefore starts once left school, as an adult.

    Someone like Sivi probably repeats a year (second language, good at rugby so incentive for school to keep him on) so maybe 19 or almost when they leave.

    Other scholarship kids like Fekitoa, Tamanivalu just weren't 'even in consideration' in those 3 years after school as they weren't as good.

    I seem to recall Sivivatu represented Fiji in Soccer as a junior not rugby ,

    Rugby became his forte after moving to NZ , so if had stayed in Fiji , chances are , he would not have ever been much of a rugby player anyway ,

    I remember that story , doing the rounds , not sure how much truth is in it , ???

    NZ gained a good rugby player, but Fiji didnt lose one

    The Internet suggests he took up rugby at the age of 13 properly in school. It also notes that at age 15 he was granted a scholarship to Wesley College. The Internet also suggests that his family were aggrieved that when he was 15 he did not get support from the Fijian Union ( an odd one if he was a soccer player). The final aspect which suggest this story about him being a soccer player is odd, is that in the Wesley College annals he appears to have been on the Rugby XV for at least two years but never featured on the soccer XI. An odd one for a soccer player. Pretty amazing that between getting off the plane and the end of his first school year he had been introduced to rugby, leapfrogged dozens of kids playing the game locally for years and was making the grade for the schools rep teams. Mad really. Some coaching structure at that school.

    The problem with school imports are that they aren't under any control of the rugby bodies. If a 17 year old Fijian kid gets offered a scholarship to an NZ (or England) school and then later declares they want to represent that country the national unions are placed in a situation not of their making. Their job is to select the best eligible players and they can't be expected (probably both morally and legally) to turn down obvious candidates because they think it is 'a bit off'.
    If they were encouraging schools to create this situation then, yes, it is a problem coming from the top but these schools act independently.



  • @Crucial said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @kiwiinmelb said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rapido said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rancid-Schnitzel said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rancid-Schnitzel think it was just longer because he came here when he was 15, and the clock for 3 year eligibility only started when he left school (or 18?)

    He was 23 when he first played for the abs so it must have been 5 years after he turned 18. He definitely would have been selected earlier if available. Seems a bit unfair.

    Moving under the age of 18 without parents (eg a scholarship, boarding school arrangement) doesn't count towards residency. Therefore starts once left school, as an adult.

    Someone like Sivi probably repeats a year (second language, good at rugby so incentive for school to keep him on) so maybe 19 or almost when they leave.

    Other scholarship kids like Fekitoa, Tamanivalu just weren't 'even in consideration' in those 3 years after school as they weren't as good.

    I seem to recall Sivivatu represented Fiji in Soccer as a junior not rugby ,

    Rugby became his forte after moving to NZ , so if had stayed in Fiji , chances are , he would not have ever been much of a rugby player anyway ,

    I remember that story , doing the rounds , not sure how much truth is in it , ???

    NZ gained a good rugby player, but Fiji didnt lose one

    The Internet suggests he took up rugby at the age of 13 properly in school. It also notes that at age 15 he was granted a scholarship to Wesley College. The Internet also suggests that his family were aggrieved that when he was 15 he did not get support from the Fijian Union ( an odd one if he was a soccer player). The final aspect which suggest this story about him being a soccer player is odd, is that in the Wesley College annals he appears to have been on the Rugby XV for at least two years but never featured on the soccer XI. An odd one for a soccer player. Pretty amazing that between getting off the plane and the end of his first school year he had been introduced to rugby, leapfrogged dozens of kids playing the game locally for years and was making the grade for the schools rep teams. Mad really. Some coaching structure at that school.

    The problem with school imports are that they aren't under any control of the rugby bodies. If a 17 year old Fijian kid gets offered a scholarship to an NZ (or England) school and then later declares they want to represent that country the national unions are placed in a situation not of their making. Their job is to select the best eligible players and they can't be expected (probably both morally and legally) to turn down obvious candidates because they think it is 'a bit off'.
    If they were encouraging schools to create this situation then, yes, it is a problem coming from the top but these schools act independently.

    Firstly I am not commenting on the rights or wrongs of Sivivatu playing for New Zealand, rather just this notion that he only became a rugby player when he got a soccer scholarship to one of the top NZ rugby schools.

    As a principle, I'm against kids under 18 being taken abroad to play sports, be it on a rugby scholarship to a school or a soccer contract to a club. Those are their formative years and unless there are exceptional circumstances, the focus should be on getting a good education that will stand by them after their sporting poweress fade.

    New Zealand rugby does okay because their schools offer sporting scholarships to young Fijians and Tongans. The Union obviously hasn't a problem with this as it is still happening. Every recent generation produces through this system a regular All Black who would otherwise not qualify. It works out for the few that make it, but are the kids who don't best served?

    I'm no fan of project players and am happy to see the rules on that changed. But I think there is a difference worth contemplating between relocating someone for three years when they are at least 21 and you are signing a cheque for at least 100k per annum, than having loads of schools doing it under your remit whispering dreams of playing for the best team in the world in 15 year olds ears.

    Hence at least if your a citizen it all balances out. One aspect of the residency requirement to be non educational is that it discourages players going down the full time tertiary education route post secondary school. Therefore the educational value of their scholarship is already diminishing.



  • Residency requirements aren't non educational,

    They just exclude U18s who move without parents.

    So that English guy at a welsh university is serving a qualification period but the English boy at a welsh boarding school isn't. (Or Fijian kid on an NZ school scholarship or French T14 academy isn't)



  • @Rapido that's not my understanding based on this http://www.worldrugby.org/news/155038?lang=en

    I recall a case from the US where they tried to qualify a player who was on a college scholarship but we're turned down. However the Internet is not turning that up so it could have been my imagination.



  • @semper

    From that site. A relevant part is here: (and yes it does mention university )

    1.          What is the position of students?
      
                 As far as students are concerned, particularly those that are not financially independent, being resident, as a full time student, in another country, is likely to be considered as a series of temporary absences from the parental home. It is anticipated that in the majority of cases involving students the parental home is likely to continue to constitute the student’s permanent and primary home. Accordingly, attendance at college/university in such circumstances is unlikely to break a Player’s consecutive period of Residence. However, as in all matters of eligibility, the overriding concern of the Regulations Committee in assessing any such case will be to ensure that there remains a close, credible and established link with the country in which the Player claims to have retained his primary and permanent home. There could be circumstances in which a student living in another country may be deemed to have interrupted his Residency period.
      

    But earlier on, was also this part;

    *7. What is the age of majority?

                   For the purposes of the Regulations (including, but not limited to Regulation 8), the age of majority is deemed to be acquired on a Player’s 18th birthday.*
    

    Clear as mud.



  • @Rapido said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Clear as mud.

    It isn't cut and dry for sure, but it gives a pretty clear picture really.

    That's why they explicitly state the importance of things like the family home, financial independence, load of study etc.

    Earning 60k a year in a WTG at 18 while picking up a few papers at Uni (many Super players do this) likely counts toward residency. Studying full time on a scholarship (potentially on a student visa), relying on stipend or money from home, living in the dorms likely does not count as those factors indicate the permanent residence is elsewhere.

    The way it reads financial independence, living space independence and the presence of deep(ening) roots all count for a lot. Study doesn't necessarily count or not count - except to say that full time study generally makes it difficult to achieve those earlier criteria.

    In semper's example US will never be able to qualify players through their scholarships as NCAA players have to be amateurs and on students visas. Similarly time on a Rhodes scholarship wouldn't count due to the full-time study element plus the fact your selection in the program is predicated on being from another country.



  • Does the issue need to be as complicated as people are making it?

    I think the answer is relatively simple. Leave most of the rules as they are, but eliminate the links between the country and the clubs. I.e if Connact want to sign Aki, then thats no problems. But if the IRFU want Connact to sign Aki, and then hence will support/top up contracts etc - thats a massive problem. Every single journo up north, without exception, wants the clubs to maintain power, so lets give it to them.

    I kind of also get sick of the whole focus on this. The players we are talking about are the absolute standout MINORITY of people in the game. More has been written about Nathan Hughes, than has been written about Farrell, Joseph, who have been much more the key to the England turnaround than their back up number 8.

    And lets talk about Fiji for a second. The sevens champs, the olympic golds winners. Sensational stuff. But then one picture of seven Fijian boys ALL SMILING playing for seperate teams and everybody talks about how sad it is. Why? they are all outside backs - and none of them would usurp Nadolo, so you are looking at Fiji missing out on one, maybe two players maximum.

    The cynic in me thinks that this whole thing is suddenly front and centre of everybody's plate because of one person. Ben Ryan. Now I admire this guy for playing his part in the Fiji gold medal, I really do. But it speaks volumes that the coverage given to this issue was so much less when these teams had local and/or NZ/Aus coaches.

    And for what it's worth, I don't want any single person in the AB jersey that doesn't 100% want to be there. Which is why losing players like Piutau sucks arse, but it's the better decison for everybody involved. When it comes to top level rugby, if you aren't 100% all in .. well, you aren't in.



  • @MajorRage said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Does the issue need to be as complicated as people are making it?

    I think the answer is relatively simple. Leave most of the rules as they are, but eliminate the links between the country and the clubs. I.e if Connact want to sign Aki, then thats no problems. But if the IRFU want Connact to sign Aki, and then hence will support/top up contracts etc - thats a massive problem. Every single journo up north, without exception, wants the clubs to maintain power, so lets give it to them.

    Every single journo up north??? Says who? Not all clubs/provinces are the same. The IRFU owns all four provinces. They employ everyone in the game ultimately.

    Connacht identified and signed Aki because they wanted him to play for them. That's why Lam brought him in. Connacht were not required to follow the 2012 Player Succession Strategy - they didn't have to stick within quotas. Lam had a limited playing budget and sought to get the best value available.

    Assuming the residency duration is increased, it'll be interesting to see what effect this has on uncapped salary levels in the marketplace if demand drops.



  • @rotated said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Rapido said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    Clear as mud.

    It isn't cut and dry for sure, but it gives a pretty clear picture really.

    That's why they explicitly state the importance of things like the family home, financial independence, load of study etc.

    Earning 60k a year in a WTG at 18 while picking up a few papers at Uni (many Super players do this) likely counts toward residency. Studying full time on a scholarship (potentially on a student visa), relying on stipend or money from home, living in the dorms likely does not count as those factors indicate the permanent residence is elsewhere.

    The way it reads financial independence, living space independence and the presence of deep(ening) roots all count for a lot. Study doesn't necessarily count or not count - except to say that full time study generally makes it difficult to achieve those earlier criteria.

    In semper's example US will never be able to qualify players through their scholarships as NCAA players have to be amateurs and on students visas. Similarly time on a Rhodes scholarship wouldn't count due to the full-time study element plus the fact your selection in the program is predicated on being from another country.

    What is clear as mud, from POV, is whether that applies to an adult over the age of 18 on a university scholarship.

    U18 school Scholarship , or u18 and smart enough to be in a uni scholarship- yes I understand.



  • @Pot-Hale Really? So are you telling me the IRFU at no point had Aki playing for Ireland in their agenda at any point in time? Same as Jared Payne??

    http://www.punditarena.com/rugby/mcassidy/irfu-special-player-project-waste-time-money/



  • @MajorRage said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @Pot-Hale Really? So are you telling me the IRFU at no point had Aki playing for Ireland in their agenda at any point in time? Same as Jared Payne??

    http://www.punditarena.com/rugby/mcassidy/irfu-special-player-project-waste-time-money/

    You do realise that quoting Pundit Arena as a source is the equivalent of 'I met a bloke last week who said he met another fella....'

    Of course, the IRFU were aware that an uncapped player who remains in the country after 3 years becomes qualified. That's what the PSS was about - reducing quotas on foreign capped imports and (after uproar by provinces) allowing 1 player in who might qualify to play for Ireland through residency. Connacht wanting to bring in Aki would have been subject to similar scrutiny as Borlase, van den Heever, etc for Munster. (Not a lot). It was Lam who persuaded him to come and buy into the vision he had for the province. That's what motivated a lot of the players that he's brought in since he arrived. My point was that the provinces identify the players, not the IRFU. Who knows whether they'll work out or not during their contract period. It's a bit of a lottery. Some contracts are only one year, others two, some three. Some might want to leave after less than a year. Some might be perma injured all the time. Some might not simply be good enough. Some might get homesick. Some might choose to move on to another team/country. Some might be loaned to another province. All of these scenarios have occurred with so-called project players.

    Aki is not a happy camper about Lam's departure. Aki's contract was up in June 2017. But he wouldn't have been qualified at that point. He had offers to go elsewhere. And as he said himself, he could potentially play for 2-3 countries - Samoa, NZ or Ireland if he stayed. But he was persuaded to sign a new three-year contract with Connacht with business support to augment his salary for the period, presumably based on their PRO12 success, and a chance to qualify and play in Champions Cup, and if he's playing well, to be selected for test rugby. I suspect that with Lam leaving, he may think their continuing chances of success won't be as good. And that might affect his chances of selection.

    If he's selected by Schmidt and capped, then at some point, he might be given a central contract which would alleviate Connacht's wage bill somewhat.

    Oh and in case it's not clear, I sincerely hope he gets fed up and leaves. Henshaw, Ringrose, Marshall, Olding, Scannell, McCloskey will do me just fine in the green shirt.



  • @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.



  • @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."

    There is a lot of focus on what Ireland has done with 'project players'. But I struggle to see what the substantive difference is between what is done there and what was done in the case of Fekitoa?



  • @semper he came on a rugby scholarship to Wesley College, what school did Aki get a scholarship for?



  • @taniwharugby said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper he came on a rugby scholarship to Wesley College, what school did Aki get a scholarship for?

    Fekitoa still had to qualify by proper residency subsequent to the scholarship. He was contracted to two Super Rugby teams during that time. If he had decided to play for the country of his birth and upbringing during that time or had said he never wanted to play for NZ, would that gave impacted his contacts? Hansen was talking about picking him for the All Blacks before he completed his residency which suggests there has been discussion about playing for NZ with him before he qualified to play.



  • @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 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?

    Fekitoa was not offered a scholarship on strength of his academic work. It was a rugby scholarship, with the benefits of it based on his rugby skills and naught else.

    So one is about a kid being moved from their home place to a country where he has no familial ties and no previous relationship with and the other is about doing the same with an adult. All based purely on their skills with an oval ball.

    I don't stand over Irish project players. I would happily only play residnecy qualified players for Ireland if they hold an Irish or UK passport. I am just asking for consistency from those who criticise what Ireland does.



  • @semper What bollocks, you know there is a clear difference. One moved as a schoolboy to a high school and the other moved to a professional club owned by the national body with the intention of playing for that nation. That's not even close.



  • @Nepia said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper What bollocks, you know there is a clear difference. One moved as a schoolboy to a high school and the other moved to a professional club owned by the national body with the intention of playing for that nation. That's not even close.

    So when Fekitoa got contracts from NZRFU Super Rugby teams his intention to qualify for NZ was not something that was even remotely a factor in it all? Hansen was talking about him in a NZ squad before he had qualified, so if it had occurred to him it probably wasn'the the first time someone in the Union thought about it.



  • @semper The NZRU would likely have had no knowledge of Fekitoa before he he started putting good performances in at schoolboy level - for a scholarship that he sought out himself.

    When he decided to stay in NZ and play his way up through provincial to Super rugby of course they'd offer him a contract - which is different than luring him to NZ as a project player which was the case with Aki.



  • @Nepia said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper The NZRU would likely have had no knowledge of Fekitoa before he he started putting good performances in at schoolboy level - for a scholarship that he sought out himself.

    When he decided to stay in NZ and play his way up through provincial to Super rugby of course they'd offer him a contract - which is different than luring him to NZ as a project player which was the case with Aki.

    So if it was Aki's agent who contacted the Irish team first it would be okay?



  • @semper Are you on the troll? Seriously? Because only a fool would equate a schoolboy moving to a country on a scholarship to a fully formed professional rugby player moving to another country with the intention of representing that country at international level.



  • @Nepia said in Eligibility back on the agenda:

    @semper Are you on the troll? Seriously? Because only a fool would equate a schoolboy moving to a country on a scholarship to a fully formed professional rugby player moving to another country with the intention of representing that country at international level.

    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.

    Aki will only become qualified to play for Ireland when he completes three years residency. The reason he will be able to complete that residency is because he is on a contract from a province (not the IRFU but a structure operating within the IRFU's control).

    The fact the Fekitoa was on an educational scholarship would make not a job of difference to his ability to apply for a NZ passport. It makes not a jot of difference to his ability to demonstrate residnecy to the IRB in satisfaction of rule 8. The only thing that makes him a runner for either is the fact that he is a legal permanent resident that is only enabled by him having a professional rugby contract.



  • @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.

    Now, can you honestly say that either of these things happened for Aki? He wanted to play for Ireland? Before bags of money were hung before him? No way. The situation is totally different, it's not even remotely the same.

    I appreciate your frustration in that some of my original thoughts may have been inaccurate fallacies brought about by reading media from those who should know better, as we down here have suffered that same fate for many a year. But lets compare apples with apples.

    EDIT: Also this - So one is about a kid being moved from their home place to a country where he has no familial ties and no previous relationship with and the other is about doing the same with an adult. All based purely on their skills with an oval ball.

    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?



  • @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



  • @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

    How dare you besmirch the name of Isaac Boss! He was a half-decent 3rd string halfback for Waikato.



  • 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.


Log in to reply