New Zealand Rugby
NZRU relaxes rules on foreign players
September 24, 2010
New Zealand's Super rugby franchises have been cleared to include two foreign players in their sides © Getty Images
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has confirmed that its Super Rugby franchises will be allowed two foreign players in their squads from next season.
However, under the terms of the new policy, which is effective immediately, there can be no equivalent native player available to the side, nor can they have more than one overseas player in a specialist position on their roster.
"We've been trying to strike a balance between the need to maintain our ability to build our player depth and develop New Zealand rugby so that we maintain a winning All Blacks environment, with our commitment to ensure Super Rugby is the best international competition in the world," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said of the new rules, which do not view players from the Pacific Islands as 'foreign'. "We will monitor this very closely."
Under the old regulations, the signing of foreign players was only permitted when teams could prove that they were lacking cover in a particular position. However, in spite of a clear relaxing of the rules on acquiring talent from outside of the country, Tew does not envisage an influx of foreign players into the domestic game before the start of the 2011 season, although he can foresee the arrival of a number of Argentina internationals in the coming years.
"I think a couple of franchises have explored some options (for next year) but timing is clearly an issue," he said. "We're probably really thinking 2012 [before more overseas players arrive in New Zealand].
"We are hopeful that we'll get some Argentinian players playing out here, which will help them secure their players in a professional rugby environment that lines them up with the same calendar as their Test matches."