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Incoming Test boss Pivac wades into reignited row in Wales over World Rugby's 36-month residency rule

Incoming Test coach Wayne Pivac has defended World Rugby’s 36-month residency rule which could play a major part in adding to the depth of the Wales squad when he takes over from Warren Gatland at the end of the year. 

The three-year residency rule has again become a hot topic in Wales following the recent announcement of club contract extensions for Pivac’s fellow New Zealanders, Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo. These new deals at Scarlets and Cardiff will see the duo become eligible to play for Wales under Pivac’s watch. 

Former Welsh captain Paul Thorburn insisted earlier this week that rugby’s residency rules should be scrapped altogether, but Pivac doesn’t agree. Speaking to walesonline.com, the Scarlets coach insisted he has a full understanding of the issue.

During his time as a Fiji coach, the islanders were left watching frustratedly as Sitiveni Sivivatu became a star for Graham Henry’s All Blacks. “I understand it and it’s an area that I’m about to jump back into,” said Pivac. “I didn’t have that issue with Fiji – there were plenty of Fijians playing against us!

“The rules of the game are what they are. Everyone’s got a view on it and I respect everyone’s view. It makes for great debate, doesn’t it?”

Pivac believes people can be won around to the issue, citing the current popularity of Kiwi Hadleigh Parkes in the Welsh ranks as an example.  

“Those that may have been against it are probably the same people who were jumping up and down the stands when he scored a couple of tries in his first Test (against South Africa).

“Over time people get accepted for what they do on and off the field in the jersey and what they represent. For me the person’s got to live in the country. They’ve got to live it, breathe it, be part of life in Wales and really buy into it.”

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Incoming Test boss Pivac wades into reignited row in Wales over World Rugby's 36-month residency rule