nel’s euro goal, page 49
The 29-year-old was brought in as a “project signing” by Scottish Rugby back in 2012 from the Free State Cheetahs in his native South Africa to play for Edinburgh.
Eligibility rules permit players who have been resident in a country for three years to play international rugby for that country – and from next month Nel will be able to play for Scotland.
With Scotland’s first-choice tighthead Euan Murray announcing his retirement from international duties on Monday and Nel being named in the Guinness Pro12 dream team of the year on the same day, the latter’s stock could not be higher.
He is likely to be given a first cap during Scotland’s World Cup warm-up matches starting in mid-August, but the man himself is remaining coy.
Nel said yesterday: “Yes, it is a possibility [that I could be playing in the World Cup], but that is not something I am thinking about at the moment.
“I just want to perform for Edinburgh at this moment and hopefully we can end up earning a Champions Cup place.”
Scotland’s two other prominent tightheads are Geoff Cross and Jon Welsh.