Gerry Thornley: New Test eligibility rules a boost for Pacific Island sides

The likes of Piutau could feature at the next World Cup with nations of their heritage

Former All Black Charles Piutau could be eligible to play for Tonga under the new rules. Photograph: Duif du Toit/Getty

Former All Black Charles Piutau could be eligible to play for Tonga under the new rules. Photograph: Duif du Toit/Getty

The primary rationale behind the decision of the World Rugby Council to amend the regulations regarding player eligibility is to give a boost to the Pacific Islands and specifically Tonga – who are likely to be in Ireland’s World Cup pool in France in 2023 – and Samoa.

World Rugby have amended regulation 8 to allow an international player who hasn’t played Test rugby for at least three years to revert back to the country of his birth and/or heritage.

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