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Nation Eligibilty Catch-All Thread

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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I appreciate and respect that many rugby fans don't wish to engage with this topic. So I've stolen a 9 year old idea elsewhere in the forum to make a dedicated thread, to hopefully help other threads from going off on a tangent that some won't enjoy. To kick things off, below is an article with a detailed breakdown of 6N squads with foreign raised players. Highlights include.

- 21 of 39 Scottish players appear to have been developed by foreign unions. This is the first time I'm aware of Scotland going over 50% foreign developed.
- Scotland has more foreign developed players than Wales and Ireland combined, despite all three countries arguably having broadly similar emigration history.
- Scotland has over a quarter of their squad qualifying via grandparent (10 of 39) compared to 3 for Italy and Wales and 2 for Ireland.
- Over a quarter of Scotland's players (10 of 39) were developed in England.

An emotive subject, but I think the article below goes into sufficient detail to allow us to make distinctions between the unions. For the record I love the 10 year cumulative residency rule (I wasn't aware of that being introduced) and am generally now very relaxed on residency now we've moved to 5 years (which is a large proportion of an active athlete's life). I also don't have such an issue with representing the nation of one of your parents even if I'm not over the moon about systematic attempts to attract players who have chosen to represent another nation at age grade.

Looking at each one in detail

- I applaud England and France (and to a lesser extent Ireland, who I think may actually be increasing the proportion of their players that they themselves are developing).
- I'm actually less aggrieved by Italy and Wales than I was expecting. Italy's stated plans to tap 7 players before this 6N clearly haven't borne fruit and so they stay off the naughty step for me just now (which, oh great, means I'll probably find myself supporting them again),
- I think by any objective measure the Scottish situation is getting completely out of hand with over 50% of players being developed by other unions. If we accept 50%, do we accept 100%? I hope this strategy of theirs is rewarded by defeat in every game until they go back to the drawing board and seek to emulate an Irish or NZ approach in comparably sized nations. It's a 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' for me this weekend, which is a first. If they revert to majority developed in Scotland I'll revert to neutrality.

 

TRF_Olyy

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Interesting seeing the player numbers laid out like that,
Those are some mad numbers for Scotland - never would've guessed they'd have almost double Italy, even though we like to joke about it


Rodd isn't residency though, his Dad is English
 

BPM

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Really interesting and well put together article. Nice find @Bruce_ma gooshvili.

The Scots are becoming an embarrassment. They have over a third of the foreign born players in the whole tournament in their squad.

If Pivac had his way, Wales would have a good few more too though.
 

Tallshort

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Think you are being a bit hard on Scotland. Given the demographics/popularity of the game and movement of people around the UK, Scotland has always had to scout players who are not what people would define as born and bred. Ian McGreegen for example was from Yorkshire, his Grand slam winning captain David Sole was from Kent. At least they have moved away from grabbing a random Kiwi off a plane like they did with Brenden Lanny.
 

BPM

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Not really. I think the key piece in the article is where the players are developed. Scotland might only have two pro-clubs, but it’s very poor that between them they’ve only managed to produce 18 players for the current squad.

It strongly suggests to me that their strategy is to let other unions invest in developing players and then aggressively attempt to hoover up anyone tenuously qualified if they’re not capped by the country that has produced them before they’re 21. It’s getting earlier and earlier too and I don’t like it.
 

TRF_Olyy

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I have some sympathy with the numbers for Wales/Ireland/Scotland as they have more of a disapora than the English do - however Scotland take the **** with how much they target foreign players (both with tenuous Granny-links and full blooded like their Saffa contingent)

As far as I'm aware no one else does this, or at least not as aggressively (Wales do to an extent, and Ireland have their Exiles sides)
 

will311293

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Not really. I think the key piece in the article is where the players are developed. Scotland might only have two pro-clubs, but it’s very poor that between them they’ve only managed to produce 18 players for the current squad.

It strongly suggests to me that their strategy is to let other unions invest in developing players and then aggressively attempt to hoover up anyone tenuously qualified if they’re not capped by the country that has produced them before they’re 21. It’s getting earlier and earlier too and I don’t like it.
See this is the key piece, where they are trained. With England, Smith has been schooled here but didn't play but even the other two (Rodd/Lynagh) have played for the junior England teams all the way through. That's what is worrying about Scotland, out of that 23, only 2 (McClean & Rowe) with maybe Christie being the only one classified in as having played Juniors (even though he gave up on Scotland at U16).

I think it just shows that the flow/mindset of Scottish coach and selectors currently. We (England) used to do it but love our move to a more England trained focused squad as the quality is outstanding.
 

Reiser99

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I had this discussion with my wife and she asked why can't immigrants go and represent a country? What's the difference between choosing to immigrate for a job in any other profession and sport? For me (though I definitely didn't explain this clearly) is that you should be tied to that country in a meaningful way. We wouldn't for example have a French person come over and represent our foreign office. When it comes to international events you should be from that country or have significant meaningful ties. Having said that England has an Australian coach so does it only apply to players or should is apply across the entire setup? Personally I have no issue with players moving countries to place for clubs domestically. However, it you are representing a country then you should commit yourself to that country. People in everyday jobs would have to apply for citizenship to represent a country or take part in voting etc...

In terms of rugby it's a bit more complicated because there are different aspects to this.
First, you don't actually need to have citizenship of the country you are in. I don't believe Duhan van der Merwe has British citizenship, yet is eligible to play for Scotland. However some players with parents or grandparents won't necessarily have British citizenship, though I assume they could apply quicker if they wanted too. How do you quantify a players connections to a country? How can we judge how Scottish some of these players are or feel? Obviously it is different to different players. If one of your parents is Scottish then fine. Completing a three year residency and then ******* off to Worcester is not fine. That for me is nothing more than being a mercenary and if Van der Merwe wasn't so good I reckon more Scottish people would be ****** that he represents them. However, it seems many prefer winning over national pride.

Second you the issue of player development. Should this matter? Personally yes, because unions spend a lot of time and money identifying players and developing them as future players. Having another union coming in and taking the results of your hard work is not fair. Having said that, what about when players get to 28 and haven't been capped. Should they just resign themselves to not playing internationally? There needs to be a fair balance.

I've said it elsewhere on this forum that I absolutely hate what Scotland are doing. They are creating a race to the bottom, forcing other nations to cap players younger and younger so that they don't risk losing them. It's completely wrong. For starters it puts pressure on these players. If they are picked young just to cap them and then dropped because they actually aren't ready, then it can have serious negative consequence for their development or mental health. It's even more depressing that rather than spend money on developing rugby in Scotland, they will spend it on scouting and attracting big name players.

Tbh I don't have a solution to it all, but one solution I do have is that anyone who plays for a country at u21/u18 level is tied to that country until they are 24/25 years of age. That way the country has time to properly see how they will develop and if they want to cap them. If not then they are free to play for any other countries they are eligible for. If they want to play using the residency rule then they have to properly commit themselves early or leave it later in their career. This would cut out a lot of the negative capping just to tie players to a country.
 

BPM

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Hear hear. The ‘race to the bottom’ you described is exactly what I’m talking about.

I feel very differently about someone like Chris Harris or Sam Skinner to how I did about Cam Redpath for example. England hadn’t really given much (if any) encouragement to Harris or Skinner re. their international prospects, but had invested plenty in Redpath and shown lots of interest. In reality, I think his dad was the main factor, but a player in that situation shouldn’t be under that kind of pressure after a handful of senior appearances.
 

will311293

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Hear hear. The ‘race to the bottom’ you described is exactly what I’m talking about.

I feel very differently about someone like Chris Harris or Sam Skinner to how I did about Cam Redpath for example. England hadn’t really given much (if any) encouragement to Harris or Skinner re. their international prospects, but had invested plenty in Redpath and shown lots of interest. In reality, I think his dad was the main factor, but a player in that situation shouldn’t be under that kind of pressure after a handful of senior appearances.
It's a really tough issue. Look at Exeter and Tshiunza. The lad is 18/19 and is already being capped by Wales and will probably have to make a couple of crazy decisions in the next few years about where to live/move etc and his next club when Welsh RFU come calling.

I'm not sure how you protect youngsters against this but it is something that needs to be thought about in a little more depth i suppose.
 

TRF_Olyy

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will probably have to make a couple of crazy decisions in the next few years about where to live/move etc and his next club when Welsh RFU come calling.
This is the thing I don't like about the WRUs methods - if they cap someone who is playing abroad there should be more leeway compared to capping in Wales and then them leaving,

Not even like forcing all these players to move to a region is improving the regions, it's disruptive if anything
 

Tallshort

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I have some sympathy with the numbers for Wales/Ireland/Scotland as they have more of a disapora than the English do - however Scotland take the **** with how much they target foreign players (both with tenuous Granny-links and full blooded like their Saffa contingent)

As far as I'm aware no one else does this, or at least not as aggressively (Wales do to an extent, and Ireland have their Exiles sides)
Brad Shields?
 

TRF_Olyy

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Brad Shields?
Yeah, wasn't keen on it then, don't like it now
In my eyes I think rugby education counts as much, if not more, than where you were born for international rugby - It's supposed to be a contest to see which nation's union produces the best players, Shields isn't a product of the RFU in the slightest

Not sure who made first contact, though - i.e. did the RFU see him sign for Wasps and then fast track him, or did we say you can play for England if you play for Wasps?
 

will311293

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Yeah, wasn't keen on it then, don't like it now
In my eyes I think rugby education counts as much, if not more, than where you were born for international rugby - It's supposed to be a contest to see which nation's union produces the best players, Shields isn't a product of the RFU in the slightest

Not sure who made first contact, though - i.e. did the RFU see him sign for Wasps and then fast track him, or did we say you can play for England if you play for Wasps?
I think it was a combo from what i know.. We had showed interest and then it was found that he could qualify. I think it helps that at the time Hurricanes had just won the Super XV and that suddenly the captain of the best all blacks team at the time was available and the All Blacks weren't picking him. Plus he was in fantastic form.

Sadly never really happened for him and combined with injuries never really did much for England. Funnily enough i'd actually say right now he's one of the form backrow players in the league...
 

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Completing a three year residency and then ******* off to Worcester is not fine.


I reckon I've spent longer in Cornwall on holiday (cumulatively rather than in one go) than van der McMerwe has spent in Scotland.

Doing a great job for Worcester though.
 

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- I think by any objective measure the Scottish situation is getting completely out of hand with over 50% of players being developed by other unions. If we accept 50%, do we accept 100%? I hope this strategy of theirs is rewarded by defeat in every game until they go back to the drawing board and seek to emulate an Irish or NZ approach in comparably sized nations.

What are Scotland meant to do to 'emulate an Irish or NZ approach'? You can't turn Scotland into NZ. Rugby is not popular in Scotland. NZ and Ireland, like England, have about 3% of the population as rugby players. Scotland's is 0.7%, which puts them closer to the participation rate in the USA and Sri Lanka.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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To play Devil's Advocate we are a few years away from Scotland's new semi-pro Super 6 to see if it provides a credible pathway for domestic talent. I'll cling to that. The Scottish union were hoping to add London Scottish to the Super 6 and it appears the English union are opposing that (I imagine in part due to the issues raised in this thread).

"“As you know we’ve been talking to London Scottish about the potential of them coming into a Super8. They’re having conversations with the RFU which will take time and they probably won’t join the Super8 or Super7 in the short term. "


Long may that be the English position as it is the only thing that will get the Scottish union to get its house in order and investing properly within its territorial boundaries. The same article also alludes to the already feeble youth development in the cities of the north east getting even weaker. To my mind, poor domestic development and over 50% of your national side being developed by others are two sides of the same coin. One helps cause the other in an unvirtuous cycle.
 

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I think rugby education has to be dismissed as a factor, is a kid supposed to choose where he lives? Ultimately the player makes it himself, the resources only help.



I do think 20s should lock a player in to a nation, you're old enough to make your choice by then. I also think the country switching should be between tiers only (upwards or downwards, I don't see an issue with a player going up to experience the highest level of the game). Implement that and I'm fairly happy with where things are at.



Scotland aren't successful with their current carry on and their best players tend to be genuine products of Scottish rugby or lads like Redpath and Watson who chose to play for them. When they beat teams ahead of them in the world rankings it's usually due to poor form or France being involved. The better rugby they're playing will help grassroots but to take it to the next level the foreign guys have to be the exception, covering positions they don't have depth in purely because small countries can only produce so many international players. That's the Irish model and I don't see why Scotland can't have a version of it in the next 10 years.
 

TRF_Olyy

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I think rugby education has to be dismissed as a factor, is a kid supposed to choose where he lives?
No, but he benefits from it and is moulded by it, and ultimately that's what international rugby is - two national unions seeing which union is better, otherwise it's just the same as club rugby and seeing who can source the best players willing to turn out for them

What does Willi Heinz have to do with the RFU/England other than deciding to work in England for a few years?
It's daft that he should be put forward as English rugby's "champion" (in Game of Thrones terms) when his only link is he worked for a club based here for a couple of years


I understand that these are just my idealistic views on what the sport should be (imo), and don't really have any basis in reality


I do think 20s should lock a player in to a nation, you're old enough to make your choice by then.
Agree on this
In my fictional world I'd tie it to graduation from the academy (or if not from the academy system, then being registered as a senior player for a side in the top competition) as that's when they're not benefitting from the nations coaching and funding and are solely trained/funded by the club
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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OOF embrassing TBH not sure how any self respecting Ireland fan could be happy with it.

On London Scottish of course the RFU will block it, the RFU need the PRL, like the PRL need the RFU and no way would they let a team in London of all cities play in another countries league the SRU are dumb to even think it's possible.

Personally I'm for the sliding scale
So say standard is 7 years residency.
Parent = qualification
Grandparent = 3 years
Playing U20's for another nation + 2 years onto the other qualifications.


But it's a professional sport and with how common it has gotten I find it hard to really be annoyed by it anymore.
More ****** off with the unions that cap other countries/clubs academy products then tell them they can't play international rugby unless they leave said league.
 

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