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Union-led poaching

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Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Sun, 11 May 2014, 17:10

IRFU at it again. That's four or five players they have actively recruited for Ireland duty in the last year by my count. The IRB have to step in and address the residency rules.

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/m ... -1.1791175

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby iul » Sun, 11 May 2014, 18:41

The 3 year residency rule is probably a remnant of the amateur era, when living for 3 years in a country meant you probably wanted to live and work there and it would have been too much trouble for you to travel to some other country even for your home games. Now such problems are gone due to professionalism, so I think the residency period should be increased to 6 years or so. 3 years is not that long for a young guy to wait and as we can see many are willing to wait that much, 6 years would be much better IMO.
Or do what FIFA does with the citizenship thing.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Sun, 11 May 2014, 18:51

I think a cap on naturalised players may be needed, similar to what FIBA (basketball) observes:

21. a. A national team participating in a Competition of FIBA may have only one player on
its team who has acquired the legal nationality of that country by naturalisation or by
any other means after having reached the age of sixteen (16). This provision applies
also to any player having the right to acquire a second nationality at birth but who
did not lay claim to this right until after having reached the age of sixteen (16).
b. For purposes of letter (a) above and in the event of doubts, any player claiming to
have acquired a legal nationality before having reached the age of sixteen (16),
without presenting the respective passport with a date of issue before the player’s
sixteenth birthday, requires a decision by the Secretary General confirming that he
does not fall under the restriction of letter (a) above. In taking this decision the
Secretary General shall take into account the following criteria:
- the number of years during which the player has lived in the country, for the
national team of which he wishes to play;
- the number of seasons during which the player has participated in domestic
competitions in the country of the national team for which he wishes to play;
- any other criteria capable of establishing a significant link between the player and
the country, for the national team of which he wishes to play.


http://www.fiba.com/downloads/v3_expe/a ... LAYERS.pdf

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Sun, 11 May 2014, 18:56

Players the IRFU are currently poaching/have poached (not including those who qualify on ancestry):

Richardt Strauss (SA)
Robbie Diack (SA)
Rodney Ah You (NZ)
Jared Payne (NZ)
Jake Heenan (NZ)
Bundee Aki (NZ)
Tyler Bleyendaal (NZ)

There are probably a few others, those are off the top of my head.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Adamstown 7s » Sun, 11 May 2014, 20:03

..and that young georgian prop soon as well

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby HMFCalltheway » Sun, 11 May 2014, 22:59

I wonder if they should only change the residency rules for nations that are Tier 2 or above (or whatever the equivalent banding classification is). For a lot of emerging nations the fact is they have to rely on incomers and expats if they want a team let alone want to be competitive. I know I've said in the past that I'd like a longer residency period of 5 years so as to deter mercenaries competing for other countries but this really only seems to be a problem in higher tiered, more competitive nations so I wouldn't want to punish those that are struggling at the same time.

Perhaps as a condition of an improving nation demanding more meaningful quality fixtures and receiving further support from the IRB they should be made to sign on for a 5 year residency rule for new players with this possibly being reviewed if the nations falls back on its progress.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby ormond lad » Sun, 11 May 2014, 23:42

There is plenty of other countries who use project players. The IRFU doesn't actively recruit players to play for Ireland in the manner you are suggesting. They are signing players who may choose to play for Ireland when they qualify down the line but all countries do it.
I think 3 years is probably too short but think 6 years would be too much. 4 maybe 5 years would be enough IMO
How exactly did Ireland poach all those players?
All countries do the same as Ireland. Scotland announced they'd sign more projects and have http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/18307303
Adamstown Saba Meunargia the Georgian prop you are referring to has lived in Ireland for virtually all his teens. So no poaching there or with any of the other players listed in this thread.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Sun, 11 May 2014, 23:54

How exactly did Ireland poach all those players?


By signing uncapped players with the stated mission of keeping them in Ireland for three years and making them eligible for Ireland. Strauss and Diack may have been slightly more innocent, but starting with Payne they've been blatant about it. With Aki, it was in the news that he would aim to play for Ireland the same day he signed.

I'm always told the provinces are arms of the IRFU, so this is an IRFU policy.

Scotland were bad for a while, but Ireland are in a league of their own now. Aki and Bleyendaal are farcical, especially when Aki would probably play for Samoa if he had signed for an English or French club.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Coloradoan » Mon, 12 May 2014, 04:11

ormond lad wrote:There is plenty of other countries who use project players. The IRFU doesn't actively recruit players to play for Ireland in the manner you are suggesting. They are signing players who may choose to play for Ireland when they qualify down the line but all countries do it.
I think 3 years is probably too short but think 6 years would be too much. 4 maybe 5 years would be enough IMO
How exactly did Ireland poach all those players?
All countries do the same as Ireland. Scotland announced they'd sign more projects and have http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/18307303
Adamstown Saba Meunargia the Georgian prop you are referring to has lived in Ireland for virtually all his teens. So no poaching there or with any of the other players listed in this thread.


:lol: :lol:

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby NedRugby » Mon, 12 May 2014, 05:25

Why is it funny? I don't understand.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Mon, 12 May 2014, 05:34

The final sentence is pretty funny.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby AUCKLANDREUNION » Mon, 12 May 2014, 05:36

In fairness Bleydendaal hasnt come out and said that he wants to play for Ireland.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Sables4EVA » Mon, 12 May 2014, 05:38

ormond lad wrote:There is plenty of other countries who use project players. The IRFU doesn't actively recruit players to play for Ireland in the manner you are suggesting. They are signing players who may choose to play for Ireland when they qualify down the line but all countries do it.


Are you serious?

I agree that there are a lot of countries that use "project" players but none are as blatant and obvious about "actively recruiting" as the IRFU are!

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby AUCKLANDREUNION » Mon, 12 May 2014, 05:43

Isnt more of a case that Ireland target players that are already 1st class players, whereas lots of other countries at least educate players and contribute to their Rugby upbringing.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby NedRugby » Mon, 12 May 2014, 10:01

Sables4EVA wrote:I agree that there are a lot of countries that use "project" players but none are as blatant and obvious about "actively recruiting" as the IRFU are!


To be sure Scotland (for example) are as bad or worse. It looks like some people react to IRFU like a bull to a red cloth. Other clubs do the same thing without getting the same reaction. Here we have a province recruiting a player from abroad. Would it be ok if it was a club instead of a province?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Sables4EVA » Mon, 12 May 2014, 11:37

Yes, Scotland are also guilty but they are trying to limit the amount of players recruited that way.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Adamstown 7s » Mon, 12 May 2014, 12:04

I quite like the Soccer law of eligibility where a player can only represent a nation through birth, parental lineage or 5 years of education in that country before the player is 18. Could someone in theory play for Scotland if they have been playing for an english club for 4+ years? Would this make them eligiable for all home nations? Equally, what if a player lives in Newport but plays for Bristol? Does he qualify for the nation at which he plays his rugby, or the one that he resides?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby HMFCalltheway » Mon, 12 May 2014, 12:08

Can I just make it clear here that the Visser was not a project player as he only really started to shine at Edinburgh after we signed him because Newcastle released him. Once it was recognised that he was a quality player here we considered him playing for Scotland under residency. Nel and Strauss definitely are projects.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Mon, 12 May 2014, 12:56

NedRugby wrote:To be sure Scotland (for example) are as bad or worse. It looks like some people react to IRFU like a bull to a red cloth. Other clubs do the same thing without getting the same reaction. Here we have a province recruiting a player from abroad. Would it be ok if it was a club instead of a province?


How so? The only player I know Scotland to have recruited through residency is Tim Visser. It's possible they may try to cap some of the South African legion at Edinburgh like WP Nel, but they're only following a path firmly established by the IRFU.

And yes there's a clear difference between a club recruiting a player for club duty and a province recruiting players with the aim of naturalising them for their national team. Clubs are working for themselves.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Sables4EVA » Mon, 12 May 2014, 14:12

Agreed that Visser is the only one I can see who would have qualified for Scotland through residency, though there are a few players from other countries in the squad with ancestral qualification. The Scots really spread themselves around the world in the past, must have been the strategy even back then.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Mon, 12 May 2014, 14:16

Sorry, two more for Ireland I forgot:

CJ Stander (SA)
Gerhard van den Heever (SA)

This timely story from last week: http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/m ... 58577.html

So is their aim to have a majority non-Irish team by 2017?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 12 May 2014, 14:26

NedRugby wrote:
Sables4EVA wrote:I agree that there are a lot of countries that use "project" players but none are as blatant and obvious about "actively recruiting" as the IRFU are!


To be sure Scotland (for example) are as bad or worse. It looks like some people react to IRFU like a bull to a red cloth. Other clubs do the same thing without getting the same reaction. Here we have a province recruiting a player from abroad. Would it be ok if it was a club instead of a province?


A club often prefers the players to not play international rugby!

The clubs are completely independent and sign players for their own means. Sometimes the national unions piggy back on this to cap a good player.

The IRFU deliberately set out to sing these players, qualify them then cap them.

That is the difference between finding a €10 on the floor and keeping it to stealing a €10 note from someones pocket.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby dropkick » Mon, 12 May 2014, 22:19

sk 88 wrote:
NedRugby wrote:
Sables4EVA wrote:I agree that there are a lot of countries that use "project" players but none are as blatant and obvious about "actively recruiting" as the IRFU are!


To be sure Scotland (for example) are as bad or worse. It looks like some people react to IRFU like a bull to a red cloth. Other clubs do the same thing without getting the same reaction. Here we have a province recruiting a player from abroad. Would it be ok if it was a club instead of a province?


A club often prefers the players to not play international rugby!

The clubs are completely independent and sign players for their own means. Sometimes the national unions piggy back on this to cap a good player.

The IRFU deliberately set out to sing these players, qualify them then cap them.

That is the difference between finding a €10 on the floor and keeping it to stealing a €10 note from someones pocket.



The provinces sign players independently. In fact theres always complaints from the provinces that the IRFU stop them signing foreign players. So in effect they're just like clubs. For instance I don't think the IRFU are too happy with Jimmy Gopperth keeping Madigan out of the Leinster team.


Any tier 1 country out there who has capped less players on residency grounds than Ireland? Ireland has 2 up to this point. Strauss currently with 2 caps and Andy Ward in the 90s.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby ormond lad » Mon, 12 May 2014, 22:26

Sables4EVA wrote:
ormond lad wrote:There is plenty of other countries who use project players. The IRFU doesn't actively recruit players to play for Ireland in the manner you are suggesting. They are signing players who may choose to play for Ireland when they qualify down the line but all countries do it.


Are you serious?

I agree that there are a lot of countries that use "project" players but none are as blatant and obvious about "actively recruiting" as the IRFU are!
Completely serious. All countries do the exact same as Ireland and IRFU doesn't actively recruit these players. They sign them to potentially play for Ireland but its not as if they will care about them playing for their country of birth etc if they choose to.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Mon, 12 May 2014, 23:45

Lads I appreciate that you are defending your union, but let's be honest - the provinces are not like clubs and players like Payne, Heenan, Van den Heever, Aki and in all likelihood Bleyendaal (former U20 SH internationals all), have been identified by IRFU scouts as uncapped first class players capable of playing international rugby for Ireland. Few other countries are doing this, and certainly not on the same scale. There are exceptions certainly, as I said on another thread I am unhappy with England courting Fijian Nathan Hughes when he has only been in the country for one season. However that's one potential player versus about ten and counting for Ireland.

There's also a persistent rumour that Ulster are pursuing Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson with a view to naturalising him - made all the more ridiculous by the fact that he's eligible for Scotland on ancestry and could play for them immediately. Instead Ireland propose he miss out on three potential 6N campaigns so he can play for a country he has little or no ties to.

This isn't like when Munster signed capped Doug Howlett or Rua Tipoki at the end of his career, it's altogether more cynical. They're taking promising uncapped young players from other unions. I'm very uncomfortable with the path the IRFU are steering international rugby down. These aren't meant to be Barbarians-style teams like Toulon, they're meant to be the best of the nation's talent they've developed, especially if you're an established Tier 1 union as Ireland undoubtedly are.

If all that's not enough, they're the only NH country without any Tier 2 players contracted to their clubs/provinces. It's an exceptionally greedy system they operate.

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