SANZAR to change player eligibility rules

SANZAR plan to make changes to the eligibility rules for Super Rugby in order to close the loophole that the Stormers used to allow Schalk Britz to fly in from the UK and play for the Stormers in their Semi-final earlier this year.

The move was not met with much happiness in Australian and New Zealand rugby circles as the Stormers “exploited” the regulations by playing Brits who is one of the stars of English club Saracens.

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said that he does not expect many changes for the 2012 Super Rugby tournament but there will definitely be a change in the player regulations which govern eligibility.

Peters added that SANZAR won’t be making moves in 2012 he does expect some agreement to come about which would allow Argentinean players to play in the Super Rugby competition as part of one of the Sanzar country franchises.

Peters added that while his organisartion did allow Brits to play they would certainly would be “closing the loophole” ahead of the 2012 competition.

“We won’t be making substansive changes, but there is definitely the situation regarding eligibility that we will look at.”

“We want to change the current loophole in the regulations that enables players to play in the finals series having not contributed in the league stages,” Peters told SuperSport.

“What we are looking for is a declaration of a squad of players that will be eligible through the entire season, and if anyone else needs to come in there needs to be injury proof. “

“Apart from that, to play in the finals series, you need to be eligible, playing in the country by a certain date to qualify.”

Peters said that after the Stormers situation there needs to be a better system with dealing with eligibility.

“Teams will now announce a squad of players who will all be eligible throughout the competition, and they can then bring other players in until the cut-off date.”

“After that, players can only be brought in if they have played four games, or as an injury replacement if they are in the country by a certain date.

“The principle is we don’t want to see competition-hopping, we want teams to play through. “

“We don’t want the example of this year’s series when the Stormers exploited that loophole. We say good on them, but now we are closing that one.”

Peters said that there would not be any Argentinean players in the Super Rugby squads in 2012 but that was certainly on the cards for the future.

“It is certainly part of our plans and we hope to see a number of Argentinean players take part in the Southern Hemisphere competitions.”

“At this stage through they will have to be playing in Super Rugby as individuals.”

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