Rugby Union

New Zealand players looking to switch nations

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In many sports the idea an athlete can change the country he plays for has become a common outcome, as seen in the 2014 World Cup, but in rugby is the concept of a player choosing a rival nation justified?

According to OneNews, a numnber of players from New Zealand are looking to play for a fellow rival country due to not being picked by the All Blacks.

But there is nothing stopping them as they can represent a fellow nation if they haven't played international rugby for 18 months, as they can go on and become eligible to play all forms of rugby for that chosen country as long as they hold their passport.

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Loyalty

But when does loyalty to your own country come into perspective? There is the understanding athletes want to play on the highest stage and achieve all the great treasures in their short time at the top of their game, but is this a reason to turn your back on your home nation?

It's not like they have been abandoned from playing for New Zealand or any other country, they had their time and as they were reaching the advanced years of their career the younger, more energised players started coming through the ranks.

Some of the players looking to play for another country are the likes of Roy Kinikinilau, Lifeimi Mafi and Alando Soakai who have commented on their goals to play for Tonga, while All Blacks' legend Joe Rokocko and Sitiveni Sivivatu have announced ambitions to play for Fiji.

A Career Move

However, these decisions have to be looked at through the eyes of a professional, if a player has decided to change country he is only doing it for his own career.

There are many players based around the world who have been shut out of international duty and have look back through their ancestral background to find another nation.

In a way, it may be easier to push through a smaller nation who rely on players based in their own country, instead of choosing a nation who have a large choice of players based in the top rugby leagues.

World Cup

Also with the World Cup next year, players like Rokocoko and Soakai could end their international careers in the way they want to; playing on the biggest stage in possibly their last international tournament.

The only problem with this is that these players, who have represented the All Blacks for nearly their entire careers, are switching allegiance and are choosing a fierce rival to which many fans may see as an unforgiveable option.

But what needs to be understood is if a player can play for another country they should be allowed, it is their decision and every players want the best for themselves.

We see it happen all the time in other sports and it is something that needs to be recognised as conventional.

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Topics:
IRB Rugby World Cup
New Zeland Rugby
Rugby Union

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