9 May 2015

Sport: Caution urged as rugby league bosses debate eligibility laws

11:18 am on 9 May 2015

The Rugby League International Federation says any loosening of current eligibility rules could damage the game's credibility.

Sam Kasiano switched allegiance from New Zealand to Samoa for last weekend's Pacific Test against Tonga.

Pacific Rugby League Test logo


But a number of other Pacific stars, including Fiji's Akuila Uate, Tonga's Feleti Mateo and Anthony Milford from Samoa did not play for the country of their heritage in order to maintain eligibility for State of Origin and Australia.

Tas Baitieri from the Rugby League International Federation says it's great to see players like Sam Kasiano and Frank Pritchard committing to Pacific teams but isn't sure that making such moves easier is the answer.

"We've had some challenges to the eligibility rules but at the end of the day everybody's got to have rules to abide by and it just can't be a willy nilly I'm in one year for this team and I'm going to play with someone else the other time. There's a lack of credibility, I think, in some cases. We do intend to have a debrief in the coming weeks on this issue and then come up with rules that have some flexibility but also protect the integrity of the respective teams and games."