World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, has voted to increase the required residency period from three years to five years. Instigated by Augustin Pichot, the Vice Chairman of the organisation, this increase was agreed by the global governing council at a meeting in Kyoto in May. The increase means that if a player wants to represent a country on the world stage, they must have resided in the country they represent for a minimum period of five years.
Benefits to smaller nations
The reason for the increase is to try to safeguard the player resources of smaller nations, such as the Pacific Island teams of Fiji and Samoa, by discouraging their star players from looking for greater rewards by representing larger rugby-playing nations such as the UK and France. The French national team, for example, had four players from Fiji as their starting wings during a test match against Australia last autumn.
You can read more about World Rugby and the regulations governing the sport at http://www.worldrugby.org/.
An end to project players
“Project players” is a much-used but rather controversial practice of players being lured to another country and training with the national team and taking part in rugby drills, and only then being selected to play once the three-year period of residency had been satisfied. It is hoped that with the increase from three to five years, this practice will end. Augustin Pichot, former captain of Argentina and club player at Bristol, hopes that this will see the return of integrity to international rugby.
Regulation 8 determines the residency period, and World Rugby’s chairman, Bill Beaumont, himself an England captain in the 1980s, welcomes the change. He said that it would be good for the union as a whole and positive for players and fans alike. Rugby is a fantastic team sport, and if you want to learn more about it or motivate your own team to greatness, take a look at rugby drill videos, such as those found at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/.
World Rugby issued a statement saying that these changes to Regulation 8 should help put a stop to player drain, which has long disadvantaged national sides from all around the globe.