Scarlets boss Wayne Pivac has coached in his native New Zealand, Fiji, and now Wales and seen all sides of the argument when it comes to the rights and wrongs of rugby’s residency rules.
Pivac has signed Pacific Islanders to ITM Cup teams, including Tongan-born All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa, seen them leave the islands in search of financial security and signed Kiwis chasing international status overseas, bringing Johnny McNicholl to West Wales, because there is simply no path to Test rugby with the All Blacks.
Which is why World Rugby’s decision this week to extend qualification for international eligibility on grounds of residency from three years to five is not as clear-cut as it may seem.
Speaking last Sunday, ahead of the World Rugby vote in Japan, and essentially to discuss Scarlets’ Pro12 semi-final at Leinster next Friday night in Dublin, Pivac was asked for his thoughts on uncapped New Zealander James Lowe’s impending move from the Blues to Leinster and also about Irish-qualified project players Jared Payne and CJ Stander representing the Lions this summer
“Yeah, it’s in the rules,” Pivac said of the latter, the silence that followed the former Fiji and Auckland head coach’s terse response speaking volumes.
He acknowledged that the All Blacks squad regularly contains players born on the islands, saying: “There are.
Published: Thu May 11 2017 20:00:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)