Three-year residency rule wrong, says World Rugby’s Pichot

New World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot has criticised the three-year residency qualification. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

New World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot has criticised the three-year residency qualification. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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World Rugby’s three-year residency rule is wrong and should be changed, according to the governing body’s new vice-chairman.

Agustin Pichot, the former Argentina scrum-half, was yesterday named No 2 to new World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

He wasted no time in criticising the controversial residency rule which allows a player to play for an international side if he spends three years living in that country, regardless of any bloodline connection.

“I think it’s wrong,” Pichot is quoted as saying in the Times. “Somebody will kill me, but we need to change it. It should be for life.

“I understand maybe a five-year [qualification period] and I think it will be on the agenda in the next six months.

“It is very important to keep the identity of your national team.”

Scotland, and other nations, have been beneficiaries of the rule. South African pair Josh Strauss and Willem Nel were identified as “project players” by the SRU to fill problems positions. Both players joined Scottish sides and qualified to play for Scotland last year.

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