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Sports

Stars could come back for Fiji rugby

July 21, 2014 1:01 am

Big name players such as Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Lote Raikabula have a chance of playing for Fiji in the near future.

A loophole in the International Rugby Board’s player eligibility rules could see some players change national allegiance ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The loophole comes about because of the inclusion of rugby sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and rules stating that to compete for a country you must have that nation’s passport.

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According to the IRB Handbook, Regulation 8, any player that has represented a national team, but has a passport for a second country, can switch allegiance during the 2014-15 IRB Sevens World Series if there has been an 18-month period since their last national team appearance.

To become eligible for a second country, the player must apply to switch allegiance, and then turn out for his new country during next season’s World Series, which doubles as Olympic qualification.

The player can only debut for his new team once the application is approved, and once the 18-month national team stand-down has passed.

Once a player has made his sevens debut for a new national team in an Olympic event, like the 2014-15 World Series, IRB rules state that the player can then play any form of the game for his new country.

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan says any player wanting to feature for his side, will have to show interest and they will be given a fair chance at selection.

The next chance players will have to switch allegiance will be during the 2018-19 IRB Sevens World Series, doubling as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

From then on the stand-down period for players will be extended to three-years, rather than the 18 months this coming season.

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