World Rugby increases residency period for Test eligibility

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World Rugby has increased the residency period required for Test eligibility from three to five years to protect the integrity and credibility of the international game.

The World Rugby Council agreed during a special meeting in Japan on Wednesday that the amount of time a player needs to live in a country to be able to represent them should be raised.

It was agreed by the governing body that the new regulation will be adopted from December 31, 2020.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "This reform of Regulation 8 governing eligibility is an important and necessary step to protecting the integrity and credibility of international rugby.

"This extension to the residency period within a forward-thinking reform package will ensure a close, credible and established link between a union and players, which is good for rugby and good for fans.

"I would like to thank my union colleagues for their support and in particular the leadership role that Agustin Pichot [World Rugby vice-chairman] played in this very important process that has delivered an outcome that is good for the global game."

Pichot added: "This is an historic moment for the sport and a great step towards protecting the integrity, ethos and stature of international rugby.

"National team representation is the reward for devoting your career, your rugby life, to your nation and these amendments will ensure that the international arena is full of players devoted to their nation, who got there on merit."

Meanwhile, French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte was unanimously elected onto the World Rugby Executive Committee as a replacement for Pierre Camou, with SA Rugby president Mark Alexander missing out.

The World Rugby Council also approved a recommendation to give Argentina and Japan additional voting rights.