English lads ahead of ‘project play­ers’

The Rugby Paper - - Letters | Views -

MIKE Brown and James Haskell will now never play for the Lions be­cause of Ir­ish ‘project play­ers’ who may only live in Ire­land while un­der con­tract with the IRFU.

World Rugby have a re­spon­si­bil­ity for im­prov­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness of all rugby na­tions and it must be fair to play­ers who find dif­fi­cul­ties in rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try of birth.

This week World Rugby an­nounced changes to the rules of in­ter­na­tional qual­i­fi­caion – etend­ing res­i­dency from three to five years – but start­ing from 2020 to be fair to those in the throes of qual­i­fy­ing.

I would ar­gue that a Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lion is an elite player and qual­i­fi­ca­tion for such a huge hon­our can­not be a mere project.

Go­ing for­ward what is to stop academy play­ers be­ing poached from coun­tries suf­fer­ing eco­nom­i­cally, in­clud­ing South Africa? NIGEL SEN­NETT Chin­nor

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