The ongoing saga surrounding whether Brad Shields will be selected for England in their upcoming tour of South Africa has taken a new twist with comments from RFU Chief Executive Steve Brown who said that ‘regulation nine’ permits Shields to be released, regardless of any NZRU opposition.
Shields is currently contracted to play Super Rugby with the Hurricanes and the NZRU have not yet granted any permission for Shields to be released to play for England in June. The Hurricanes have two fixtures in June against the Highlanders and the Brumbies.
However, World Rugby ‘regulation nine’ states that players can be released for international duty during designated Test windows and the June window is a part of that.
The NZRU have previously stated that regulation nine doesn’t apply “per se” to Shields because he is contracted to New Zealand and the end of the Super Rugby season.
Steve Tew, the NZRU Chief Executive previously stated: “He’s contracted to New Zealand until the end of Super Rugby and so the World Rugby regulations don’t apply per se because he’s committed himself to New Zealand.”
Brown, in comments made to The Times, is confident that the World Rugby regulation will allow Shields to play for England in June, despite any potential opposition from the NZRU.
“Regulation nine is clear and understood by everybody,” Steve Brown, the RFU chief executive, said. “If we find ourselves in that situation we will rely on the World Rugby regulation.”