31 Jul 2014

Sport: Ex All Blacks, Wallabies keen to make Fiji switch

11:54 am on 31 July 2014

The Fiji Rugby Union has been approached by a number of high profile players keen to turn out for the Pacific nation at next year's Rugby World Cup and the Rio Olympics.

A change in the IRB's eligibility laws means that a player can apply to switch their national allegiance if they hold a passport for the second country, have not played international rugby for at least 18 months and that they turn out for their new nation during the upcoming World Sevens Series.

Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan says he's been closely monitoring the situation with Flying Fijians coach John McKee and how it can benefit both of their teams.

He's open to including such players during the upcoming sevens season and says there's a long list of players who have already come forward to be considered.

"Players just saying,"Look haven't played for this country for X amount of time, I'm Fijian, I want to play, I want to come back - what's the chances? We're taking about top level players that have played for All Blacks at sevens and fifteens, Australia at test match level, as well as other countries. So IRB Regulation 8 with IRB Regulation 9, which means that we can legitimately call on players to come back and play for us from these top clubs, makes the season a very interesting one".

Ben Ryan plans to maintain a local-based squad for the opening World Series round on the Gold Coast in October but says he's keen to include a couple of outside faces in future events.