SANZAR to close player eligibility loophole
The “Stormers loophole” which saw Schalk Britz fly in from the United Kingdom to play for his old team in the Investec Super Rugby Final’s Series earlier this year will be officially closed for the 2012 competition.
It was a ruling not to dissimilar to the medical joker law that applies in European competitions, and Britz was employed as a flanker, with his positional switch ensuring that the Stormers were not breaking any by the letter regulations.
SANZAR has already confirmed that there will be no wholesale changes in the competition this year, but chief executive Greg Peters confirmed to Supersport.com that there will be no players coming into franchises from other sides.
“We won’t be making substansive changes, but there is definitely the situation regarding eligibility that we will look at. We want to change the current loophole in the regulations that enables players to play in the finals series having not contributed in the league stages,” Peters said.
“What we are looking for is a declaration of a squad of players that will be eligible through the entire season, and if anyone else needs to come in there needs to be injury proof. Apart from that, to play in the finals series, you need to be eligible, playing in the country by a certain date to qualify.”
Individual countries in the past had nominated players, but there will be a tightening up of the squad rules.
“Teams will now announce a squad of players who will all be eligible throughout the competition, and they can then bring other players in until the cut-off date. After that, players can only be brought in if they have played four games, or as an injury replacement if they are in the country by a certain date.
“The principle is we don’t want to see competition-hopping, we want teams to play through. We don’t want the example of this year’s series when the Stormers exploited that loophole. We say good on them, but now we are closing that one.”