Jared Payne Fires Back At Neil Francis After He Questions His Nationality
I’m an Irishman.
Jared Payne has fired back at Neil Francis after the outspoke journalist questioned his nationality in a recent column for The Independent.
Francis wrote that Payne and fellow Ireland teammate CJ Stander may have performed well for Ireland, and that while their rugby integrity and commitment to the national team is undoubted, the issue remained that both players are not Irish.
“The issue is that they are not Irish. Your heritage and the nationhood of this island cannot be bartered for just because the governing body of our sport did not move quickly enough to close off the completely inadequate 36-month residency rule.
‘I have always profoundly and vehemently disagreed with this principle. The green shirt is not for sale. Only Irish people should represent Ireland in our sport, no matter how good a foreign alternative is.”
Payne however has fired back stating he’s a ‘converted Irishman’ that has a child born in Ireland and has no plans to leave.
“It’s the longest I’ve ever been in one place, in Belfast, and my fiancée, she’s from Belfast and we’ve got a nine-month old baby boy that was born over here,” Payne told stuff.co.nz.
“We’ve got a house and a dog and the whole nine yards really, so I’m well and truly and converted and can’t see myself going too far in the near future.”
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and can voice them, but I’m more than happy with how the guys treat me and they look on me as a local,”
“I’m more about it’s the guys that you play with. If they all accept you and they’re happy with you, then that’s what counts. That’s always been the case for me. It’s no skin off my back.”