By Trevor Makonyonga
The Zimbabwe Rugby National, Sables, team manager, Jason Maritz, has revealed that they are in touch with players who are now eligible to play for Zimbabwe after World Rugby changed laws allowing players to switch allegiances.
Speaking to Bustop TV, Maritz said that it would be “silly not to strengthen the squad” as the nation hopes for a World Cup qualification.
He said, “We are talking to everyone. I cannot disclose who we have talked to but there is an interest from some of the players. There are many things to be considered and it might take time but it will be silly not to strengthen the squad when we want to qualify for the World Cup.”
The change of rules by the World Rugby Council now means that such players as Dave Ewers, Don Armand, the England based duo of Michael Williams and Eli Snyman and Sharks Loose head, Michael Kumbirai can now turn up for the Sables.
The retired duo of Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira and Wallabies legend David Pocock would also be possible candidates for a switch under the new rule.
Last month, the World Rugby Council came up with an amendment to the sport’s national team representation laws that now permits an international player to transfer from one country to another.
Players can now switch nations after a three-year stand-down period, provided that their parents or grandparents were born in the nation to which they’re intending to switch their allegiances.
The rule will come into effect from 1 January 2022.
In order for a successful switch to take place, the player must stand down from international rugby for 36 months, the player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country and a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity.
International Rugby Players CEO Omar Hassanein said, “The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.”
The move is set to strengthen many squads especially with the World Cup just around the corner.