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'Doesn't feel right': Foster weighs in on Kerr-Barlow's Wallabies desire

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Xavier Leoty/AFP via Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster isn’t a fan of the new eligibility rules that could potentially see ex-All Black Tawera Kerr-Barlow play for the Wallabies.

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Born in Melbourne, the ex-All Black halfback moved to New Zealand as a 13-year-old but has extensive family ties to Australia.

He expressed a desire to represent the Wallabies earlier this year with RugbyPass, and reiterated that sentiment recently to French publication RugbyRama.

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When quizzed in Thurday’s press conference in Christchurch, Foster was quite clear where he stands on the issue.

“Look, it’s just a consequence of World Rugby’s eligibility laws, isn’t it?” Foster said.

“It kind of doesn’t feel right to me, but rules are rules, and he’s entitled.

“All I know is the beauty that he brought into the All Blacks camp, he’s a quality person and quality rugby player, so there is no judgement on that decision.

“But what I remember from him is the influence he had in our environment, which is fantastic.

“To kind of think of that going somewhere else is a bit funny.

“But like I said, rules are rules and that’s the way the game is going.”

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All Black lock Sam Whitelock only heard of the potential switch on the team bus but said it would only add more motivation when the two sides met.

“I actually just found out before on the bus on the way back from the gym,” Whitelock said.

“My initial thought was just let him play. It’s just going to add motivation for us to play against him

“He’s a great player and he’s done some amazing things for us but it’s no different to any other player playing one or two games and then changing after a couple of years of not being available for that team.”

Should the 32-year-old end up playing for the Wallabies he would become the first player to switch from a tier one nation to another tier one nation.

Former All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa recently completed an allegiance change to Tonga, but that helped the tier two Pacific Island nation.

There promises to be further cases like Kerr-Barlow’s potential tier one switch in the future, with plenty of Scotland, Wales and England players all possessing ties to those nations, while many players have ties between Australia and New Zealand.

Had Quade Cooper not been recalled to the Wallabies last year, the potential remained for him to play for the All Blacks.

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