The World Rugby Executive Committee approved an adjustment to Regulation 8 (eligibility) in July to combat the exceptional disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic on the necessary residency criteria for players wishing to qualify for a national union.

The residency criteria outlined in the regulation is due to increase from 36 consecutive months to 60 consecutive months on 31 December, 2020. In order to be eligible on that basis, players must meet the residency requirement and have represented their union before the cut-off date.

Due to the disruption to the international calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, playing opportunities have been significantly affected across the sport’s 127 member unions and eligible players may have been prevented from representing a union on the basis of 36 months residency by the scheduled cut-off date and would therefore automatically move into the 60-month requirement.

In light of these exceptional circumstances, the Executive Committee, having consulted with unions and International Rugby Players, determined it was appropriate to extend the extend the 36 month residency requirement set out in Regulation 8 to 31 December, 2021.

The Executive Committee also confirmed that a player must meet both the 36 months residency requirement and have represented the union on or before 31 December, 2021, otherwise the player will fall under the 60-month rule.