Martin Devlin: Ardie Savea raises valid point over player allegiance

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 29 Nov 2019, 2:46PM

Martin Devlin: Ardie Savea raises valid point over player allegiance

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 29 Nov 2019, 2:46PM

Ardie Savea has raised an interesting point for discussion in a recent tweet about possible player movement and/or switching from one country to play for another.

His muse being "Random thought - rugby union players aren't allowed to switch allegiance once playing for their country.

Should the same rule apply to coaches?"

I presume he's talking about the ongoing debate around Pacific Island players not being able to return to their Tier 2 PI countries once their international careers have finished with their first choice teams.

Because if it's not that then any suggestion that a player, any player, could turn out for the All Blacks this year then, say, England next year is plainly ridiculous.

If that's the case why have national representation at all? Why not  just make the sport at the highest level a non-internationally aligned franchise based competition and kill off the last hundred plus years of  tradition altogether?

Because if that was to happen then rugby as a  sport would die quicker than you could say "so how many teams are in  next year's Super Comp again"?

On the subject of players switching allegiance I'm completely conflicted. The 3 year residency rule should've been quashed years ago.

World Rugby have since extended it to a 5 year stand-down period but still I find the whole idea unsatisfactory.

To represent  your country is meant to mean something more than a paycheck and/or opportunity to live and work overseas.

In my mind you're meant to feel that pride that could only become from being chosen to play on the world stage under the flag of your birthplace.

Hearing the national anthem being sung with a fern on your chest is something most of us numptys can and only ever do dream of.

Or is that just another fuddy duddy old timers idea this  new slick Instagram generation snidely dismiss as being out of touch with the way real life is as we now know it?

In terms of players returning to their Tier 2 counties of birth I think Ardie is bang on.

But as for coaches being somehow restricted in their movements the gate's open and that horse has long gone.