Rugby residency ruins the game

Towards the end of last season, Johnny McNicholl asked himself a rhetorical question: “Am I Welsh? It’s a tough question to answer. I don’t know.”

Well, the Scarlet Kiwi appears to know now. As soon as the World Cup is consigned to history, he will become one of the last under the old rules to travel halfway around the planet in search of a national identity, perhaps the very last.

The three-year residential rule to make those born in one country eligible to play for another is to be increased to five from next year. A classic example of Nero fiddling while Rome went to blazes, World Rugby’s failure to take more decisive action sooner has turned the international game into “a joke”.

The description comes from the only player to captain his country and run a World Cup as tournament director, the Welshman Paul Thorburn, best remembered for launching the longest penalty goal in the old Five Nations, one that travelled more than 72 yards between the Scottish posts.

Sign in or register for FREE to continue enjoying and to comment on our great range of writers

Not a member yet? Register here

More on this topic

Holiday booking fraud sees €12m lost in last year

Downton Abbey’s back: Fans get a glimpse of the cast in movie poster

Ask a counsellor: ‘I’m pregnant – should I tell my fiancé I’m not totally sure he’s the father?’

Jada Pinkett Smith says she had ‘unhealthy relationship’ with porn

More in this Section

FAI awaiting UEFA report on betting patterns around First Division game

Offaly sack Kevin Martin after 13-point loss to Westmeath

Noel Mooney: A shame shadow has been cast on good work of FAI

Avoiding the rough in search to secure Irish golfing growth

More by this author

Champions Cup Team of the Tournament: Furlong and Ryan stand tallest in adversity

Leinster v Saracens is rugby's version of Man City v Liverpool

Can Best exit on ultimate high?

Price hikes may account for Champions Cup’s dwindling appeal


Lifestyle

Ask a counsellor: ‘I’m pregnant – should I tell my fiancé I’m not totally sure he’s the father?’

More From The Irish Examiner