u20 Baby Boks of 2018 no longer “captured”

Unlike those that came before them in the last five years, players of the 2018 South African under-20 national team will not be country tried or “captured” as World Rugby likes to put it.

This basically means that even after they have played for the SA under-20 national team, Baby Boks will still be able to lay down roots in another country and represent the senior national team of that other country one day. Previously players who represented SA at the under-20 world champs between 2013 and 2017 were captured for life, meaning those players are still only eligible to play international rugby as Springboks and cannot play for another national rugby team. This was because SARU had pre-designated the under-20 team as the “Union’s next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team.” This meant that CJ Stander (SA u20 2010) was allowed to switch to Ireland and Allan Dell (2012) to Scotland, while uncapped senior Jacques du Plessis (2013) who plies his trade in France since 2015 will forever be bound to South Africa.

The above regulation change which preventing an under-20 team from being nominated as the next senior National Representative Team, came into effect on 01 January 2018 after a World Rugby Council meeting last year. It was however sort of overshadowed by the big announcement stemming from that meeting about changes to Regulation 8 which will see players wanting to switch nations to play Test rugby having to spend 60 consecutive months in their new country to be eligible via residency, and will come into effect in 2021.

The reformed Regulation 8 ensures that a player has a genuine, close, credible and established link with the nation of representation, and the key amendments are:

  • The 36-month residency requirement is increased to 60 months with effect from 31 December, 2020
  • The addition of a residency criteria which permits players who have 10 years of cumulative residency to be eligible (effective May 10, 2017)
  • Unions may no longer nominate their U20s team as their next senior national representative team (effective 1 January, 2018)
  • Sevens players will only be captured for the purposes of Regulation 8 where the player has represented either of (i) the senior national representative sevens team of a union where the player has reached the age of 20 on or before the date of participation; or (ii) the national representative sevens team of a union in the Olympic Games or Rugby World Cup Sevens, having reached the age of majority on or before the date of participation in such tournament (effective 1 July, 2017).

Part of the Regulation 8 reads like this:

REGULATION 8.     ELIGIBILITY TO PLAY FOR NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE TEAMS

8.1    Subject to Regulation 8.2, a Player may only play for:

the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team,
the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team and
the senior National Representative Sevens Team

of the Union of the country with which the Player has a genuine, close, credible and established national link in which:

(a)    he was born; or

(b)    one parent or grandparent was born; or

(c)    he has completed sixty¹ consecutive months of Residence immediately preceding the time of playing; or

(d)    he has completed ten years of cumulative Residence preceding the time of playing.

8.2    A Player who (subject to Regulation 8.6 to 8.12) has played for:

(a)     the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team of a Union; or

(b)     the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team of a Union; or

(c)     either of (i) the senior National Representative Sevens Team of a Union where the Player has reached the age of twenty on or before the date of participation; or (ii) the National Representative Sevens Team of a Union in the Olympic Games or the Rugby World Cup Sevens, having reached the age of majority on or before the date of participation in such tournament,

is not eligible to play for the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team or the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team or the senior National Representative Sevens Team of another Union.

8.3    For the purposes of this Regulation, a Player is deemed to have played for the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team or the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team of a Union if:

(a)    He is selected for such team to play in an International Match against the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team or the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team of another Union (or in a fifteen-a-side international Match against another Union’s senior or next senior Touring Squad during a World Rugby approved International Tour) and is present at the Match played by that team either as a replacement, substitute or a playing member of that team and has, at the time of the Match, reached the age of majority; or

(b)    He is selected to represent a Union’s senior Touring Squad on an International Tour which includes an International Match or Matches approved by World Rugby and is present at any fifteen-a-side Match played on that International Tour either as a replacement, substitute or a playing member of a team selected from the Union’s senior Touring Squad and has, at the time of the Match, reached the age of majority; or

(c)    He is selected to represent a Union’s next senior Touring Squad on a World Rugby approved International Tour and during that International Tour he is present at a Match against the senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team or the next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team of another Union either as a replacement, substitute or playing member of a team selected from the Union’s next senior Touring Squad and has, at the time of the Match reached the age of majority.

(d)    Before January 1, 2018, he is selected to represent the Under 20s National Representative Team of a Union which has been pre-designated as that Union’s next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team and the Player is part of the team which participates in an International Match as part of the World Rugby Junior World Championships, World Rugby Junior World Rugby Trophy or the Six Nations U20 Championship and is present at the Match played by that Team either as a replacement, substitute or playing member of that Team and has, at the time of the Match, reached the age of majority².

 

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