World Rugby have approved a significant regulation change that will allow players to switch their international allegiance in future.
Rugby union’s governing body confirmed on Wednesday that from January 1 2022, players will be permitted to change from one union to another “subject to demonstrating a close and credible link via birth right”.
To be eligible for such a switch, the player in question must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country.
They must also stand down from international rugby for a period of 36 months beforehand and are only permitted to change teams once.
“Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game,” said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
“We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.
“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period.
“We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”