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Argentine Muller considering allegiance switch ahead of RWC

By Kim Ekin
Axel Muller (THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Argentine winger Axel Muller is considering swapping the blue and white of Los Pumas for the red, white and blue of the United States ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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Muller, who plays for Brive in the Top 14, represented Argentina in the 2016 Olympics but is eager to fulfill a dream of playing at a Rugby World Cup, a goal he is unlikely to attain with Los Pumas.

Muller is hoping to use World Rugby’s new international eligibility laws that were revealed in November and are now being applied.

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From January 1st this year an international player is permitted to transfer from one union to another subject to being able to demonstrate a close and credible link to that union via birthright.

A three-step criteria will be applied for a player to change. Said 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.

Each switch will be subject to approval by the World Rugby regulations committee to preserve the integrity.

Muller, who grew up in Arizona and played American football there before returning to Argentina, believes that he will be eligible to make the move.

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“A dream I’ve had since I was small and that I’ve known rugby has been to play a World Cup,” Muller told AFP. “Having lived 10 years there, I feel as much Argentine as I do American.

“I have dual-nationality. If the rule is there I have the right to use it to play for the United States.”

After representing Argentina’s Sevens side, Muller sought to continue a XVs career in France, a decision he claims the UAR were not in favour of.

“I made the decision in my career to prioritise my future,” Muller said. “The federation didn’t like that I left. Since then, even if I’ve been picked by the coach, the federation haven’t been happy.”

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If his switch is approved, Muller will still of course have to win selection for the tournament.

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