IRB Set To Close Sevens Loophole

The IRB are planning to close the loophole allowing players to switch national allegiances in a bid to cut out proposed moves by a number of players.

Due to the Olympic Sevens Qualification criteria players would have been able to change their national allegiances for IRB tournaments as well by joining their new sides Olympic Sevens team.

Speculation has risen that Steffon Armitage could find himself turning out for France during the World Cup next year whilst a host of former All Blacks also looked at the possibility of turning out for their place of birth.

IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper however has confirmed there will be a committee to review all applications in a bid to avoid players using it simply as an excuse to play for another country.

“There is a regulations committee that will look at all applications for transfer and they will look to see if it’s for bona fide Sevens reasons,” Gosper told the Press Association.

“There is a safety net and any transfer will have to be passed by the committee. They will act according to the spirit of the law.

“For example, if we have huge props applying for a career in sevens, then we’ll smell a rat.

“That’s an obvious example and there will be some cases that are in a grey area, but we want to ensure the integrity of the regulation and the spirit behind it is upheld.

“Any obvious abuses that go counter to that spirit of why we’re doing this will be caught in the regulations committee net.

“But players will move in both codes by coming into the sevens game – that will happen.”

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