Samoa will be delighted with the recent changes to World Rugby’s eligibility rules, as a raft of world class players could line out for them in 2022.
World Rugby announced yesterday that players can now change their national allegiance, as long as they haven’t played international rugby in three years and if either themselves, their parents or their grandparents were born in the country they now wish to represent.
The changes look set to allow a whole host of players represent a second country – for example, CJ Stander could conceivably play for South Africa in 2024 if he comes out of retirement – but the Pacific Islands certainly have the most to gain.
Samoa could become a major force in the world next year, with a number of former All Blacks, Wallabies and even a former England international now eligible to represent the small Pacific Island nation.
Former All Blacks star Julian Savea could switch country.
A number of high-profile former international stars could play for Samoa next year, with former All Blacks winger Julian Savea perhaps the pick of the bunch.
Savea was devastating for New Zealand on the wing between 2012 and 2017, scoring a stunning 56 tries in 54 appearances for the All Blacks. His form isn’t what it used to be, but he did impress for the Hurricanes this year in Super Rugby.
Former All Blacks fly-half Lima Sopoaga has already shown his interest in playing for Samoa in 2022, and he could be joined by former Wallabies play maker Christian Leali’ifano when his three year stand down ends in October next year.
Their pack could be considerably strengthened by the likes of Victor Vito and Steven Luatua, while former England winger Denny Solomona would be a dangerous attacking option out wide.
The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the regulation 8 that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.https://t.co/cLrsGbFli5 pic.twitter.com/HtfrveDN5S
— World Rugby Media (@worldrugbymedia) November 24, 2021
Check out how Samoa could line up under new eligibility rules below.
15. Tim Nanai-Williams (Ex-New Zealand sevens)
14. Denny Solomona (Ex-England)
13. Francis Saili (Ex-New Zealand)
12. Christian Leali’ifano (Ex-Australia)
11. Julian Savea (Ex-New Zealand)
10. Lima Sopoaga (Ex-New Zealand)
9. Dwayne Polataivao
8. Victor Vito (Ex-New Zealand)
7. Henry Stowers
6. Jack Lam
5. Steven Luatua (Ex-New Zealand)
4. Ben Nee-Nee
3. Charlie Faumuina (Ex-New Zealand)
2. Seilala Lam
1. Logovi’i Mulipola