The lure of playing at the Rugby World Cup could see some players switch Test nations through Rugby World Rugby’s suitability laws to feature at the tournament RWC 2023 in France. World Rugby accepted a change in rugby’s suitability laws that came into result in January 2022, which lets players signify a second Test nation providing they have a close and reliable link to that union via birthright.
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Though the likes of Charles Piutau, Jack Dempsey, Steven Luatua, Fritz Lee, Israel Folau, and George Moala have previously made the switch, we look at 15 other players who could do the same in the year of the tournament RWC 2023.
RWC 2023: How does a player transfer to another Test nation?
Earlier we dive into the players, let’s summarize how a player would switch from one Test nation to additional under World Rugby’s studied rule 8. A player needs to have a close and trustworthy link to the union that they wish to switch to via birthright.
They can attain this by achieving the following criteria:
The player must stand down from global rugby for 36 months. The player necessity either be born in the country to which they wish to hand over or have a parent or grandparent born in that country. Under the studied Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only alter union once, and each case will be subject to support by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to reservation honesty. Piutau, for example, met these supplies after playing nine Test games for New Zealand between 2013 and 2015 but only played Test rugby when he made his debut for Tonga in 2022.
While Piutau was born in New Zealand his parents are from and were born in Tonga, flagging the way for him to signify Ikale Tahi. So, with that out the way, let’s take a look at the players who could switch nations in 2023.
Alex Lozowski: England Rugby Side to Italy Rugby Side
Italy Rugby side’s head coach Kieran Crowley exposed that he had spoken to Saracens back Lozowski earlier naming his 2022 Six Nations team, but the player finally obviously did not make the switch ahead of the tournament Rugby World Cup. The 29-year-old has played five times for England, making the last of his Test caps in 2018. He is entitled to make the switch to Italy done his Italian grandparent.
While Lozowski twisted Italy down in 2022, the side’s upward trajectory could change his mind, as could the enticement of playing in a Rugby World Cup. His quality and flexibility would be a real asset to the Italian team.
John Cooney: Ireland Rugby Side to Scotland
Ulster scrum-half Cooney could trade Ireland for Scotland through his Scottish father. Cooney has signified the country of his birth, Ireland, 11 times, with his most recent cap coming in the 2020 Six Nations overthrow to the England Rugby side. He is eligible to switch to Scotland from Ireland on February 23 next year, meaning he would miss the first two rounds of the rivalry but debut against France and play against Ireland and Italy.
Previous this year, the 32-year-old did not rule out the switch when he spoke on the BBC’s Ulster Rugby Show, proverb: Half of my family live in Scotland, and my dad is a proud Scotsman. I have to make sure all is right with me with Ulster in terms of the indenture and stuff like that.
Julian Savea: New Zealand Rugby Side to Samoa
While Ardie Savea was named All Blacks player of the year for his efforts in 2022, his brother Julian has not played for New Zealand since the 2017 British and Irish Lions series.
Savea endured a challenging stint at Toulon but looked to be back playing some of his best rugby for the Hurricanes this year. Though, his form was not sufficient to convince the All-Blacks’ coaches that he merited a Test recall. After on behalf of the All Blacks 54 times, scoring 46 tries, Savea is qualified to switch to Samoa through his parents.
Morgan Parra: France Rugby Side to Portugal
After making 71 Test caps for France’s Rugby side and on behalf of Les Bleus and three Rugby World Cups, Parra could make another Rugby World Cup arrival in Portugal colours. He played the last of his Test matches throughout the Rugby World Cup 2019 and could switch to the Os Lobos, thanks to his Portuguese father, Antonio.
The 34-year-old did retire from international rugby, but again, the lure of playing at another Rugby World Cup could entice him out of departure, particularly considering that it is Portugal’s first tournament since 2007.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow: New Zealand Rugby side to Australia Rugby Team
Initially this year, Kerr-Barlow made himself obtainable for selection for the Wallabies. The former All Blacks scrum-half has played Test rugby for five years but is qualified for Australia SIde, the country of his birth. He won the Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks in 2015 and earned the last of his 27 Test caps in 2018 against South Africa.
“I am obtainable to play for the Wallabies! I was born there. I have a lot of ties in this country, and if the coaching staff calls me, I will go without reluctance. It would be a great chance, but for the moment, I am focused on La Rochelle,” he expressed Rugby Rama.
Nathan Hughes: England Rugby team to Fiji Rugby Side
Now plying his job in Japan, Hughes could add to the plethora of talent Fiji have in their back-row.
He earned the last of his 22 caps for the England Rugby team in 2019, and having been born in Fiji; he is already qualified for the nation. Worldwide Tickets and Hospitality offers Rugby World Cup tickets for the France Rugby World Cup at the best prices. Rugby fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.
Sergio Parisse: Italy Rugby Side to Argentina Rugby team
Additional unlikely switch but one that is still likely, as Parisse could represent the country, he was born in contempt playing 142 times for Italy. The 39-year-old still means Toulon in the Top 14 and last played for the Azzurri throughout the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He has put his left on hold to play one more time for Italy, but his plan has been dissatisfied numerous times.
Could a shock switch to Argentina be on the cards?
Lima Sopoaga: New Zealand Rugby Side to Samoa Rugby team
From an improbable switch to one that is very likely, former All-Black Sopoaga has openly spoken about his desire to signify Samoa and nearly did so under the older rules. He clarified on James Marshall’s What A Lad podcast last year that he deliberately used the Olympic loophole to signify Samoa after making 16 caps for New Zealand between 2015 and 2017.
“I strained to do the switch like Malakai Fekitoa. He played in Monaco, and I was required to be a part of that with the Samoan sevens set-up. It just didn’t work out, since my voucher for return to New Zealand was for 16 June and we couldn’t get it enthused so that I and my whole family could come back. We had already booked our flights,” Sopoaga supposed.
Sopoaga has been shelved since July, further postponing his Test switch, which could happen in Samoa’s first game of the new year.
Zach Mercer: England Rugby Side to New Zealand Rugby team
Mercer returning from France to sign for Gloucester ahead of the 2023/24 Premiership season indicates that he is keen to reignite his Test career with England.
Though, the number eight can switch loyalty to New Zealand if he wishes as he qualifies for the All Blacks through his father, who played 21 rugby league Tests for New Zealand in his career.
Byron McGuigan: Scotland Rugby Side to Namibia Rugby Team
Namibian-born McGuigan has lately been in and out of the Scotland team, but his last cap came throughout the 2020 Six Nations.
The 33-year-old is qualified to represent Namibia from February 22 next year and could make the timely Test switch and pick up his Rugby World Cup debut.
Alec Hepburn: England Rugby side to Australia Rugby team
The Exeter Chiefs prop was born in Perth and made six caps for the England Rugby team, all in 2018. He was qualified to make the switch in 2021 previously, but Australia’s policies around choosing overseas-based players have made it hard for him to make the move if he wishes, as has the Wallabies’ depth in the front row.
If he is intense to do so, he may need to sign a deal with an Australian Super Rugby side to become entitled or would require a change in Australia’s assortment policy.
Taqele Naiyaravoro: Australia Rugby Side to Fiji Rugby team
Fiji is stacked with options on the wing, but the impressive frame of Naiyaravoro could be a valued asset at the Rugby World Cup.
The 31-year-old is presently playing in the Japan Rugby League One following his stint at Northampton Saints. Born in Fiji, he played two Tests for Australia, the last of which was in 2016.
Henry Speight: Australia Rugby Side to Fiji
Another former Wallaby could skill the Gold and Green for the Flying Fijians. 34-year-old Speight was also born in Fiji and signified Australia 19 times between 2014 and 2017.
Tevita Kuridrani: Australia Rugby team to Fiji
Like Naiyaravoro and Speight, Kuridrani was born in Fiji. The expert centre went on to collect over 130 arrivals for the Brumbies and was a support in the Wallabies team between 2013 and 2019, earning 61 caps and playing at two Rugby World Cups. Now plying his trade at Biarritz, Kuridrani could switch to Fiji and decide he can crack the nod in another well-stocked position.
Denny Solomona: England Rugby side to Samoa
Former Sale Sharks speedster Solomona was born in New Zealand and is now entitled to signify the All Blacks and Samoa. He received five Test caps for the England Rugby side in 2017 but could make the switch to the country he signified in rugby league, Samoa.
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