World Rugby has finally ruled on the somewhat contentious three year residency rule that Ireland rule has used so effectively in recent years.
Mooted for some time now, rugby’s governing body has deemed that foreign players will no longer be eligibile to play for the country of their residence until such time that they have played five consecutive years in that country.
The ruling by World Rugby would have significant impact to the likes of Connacht’s Bundee Aki, who is fast approaching the three year milestone, were it not for the stay on implementation until the end of 2020.
The rule change has been championed by former Argentina international Augustin Pichot who has long since demand a change in the interest of integrity of the game.
The change will now mean the likes of Ireland will have to wait that bit longer before taking advantage of those overseas players who are building lives for themselves within the provincial set ups.
Ireland has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the current three year rule to date, with the likes of CJ Stander, Richardt Strauss and Jared Payne among the highest profile names who have pulled on the green jersey for Ireland in recent seasons.
Many fans will regard the move as something that was inevitable and perhaps, warranted. It is a ruling that now open the door for more home grown talent to make the step up to the international stage and for the purists, this is certainly no bad thing.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena