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Welsh fans divided over Kiwis

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Welsh fans equally unhappy and delighted as Kiwi 'project players' named in Pivac's first Wales squad

New Wales head coach Wayne Pivac named two Kiwi project players in his first squad much to the dismay of many Welsh fans who are fed up with World Rugby’s residency rule qualification system.

Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo are in line to debut for Wales in a non-capped fixture against the Barbarians, but having completed the required three years residency while playing for Scarlets and Cardiff Blues are sure to feature going forward under Pivac.

Former Welsh international Gavin Hansen led the condemnation of the selections online, describing it as ‘so wrong’ with a huffing emoji face. Others called for the change of the system which was described as a ‘crock of s***’.

 

Not all the fans were negative about the selections, believing that the players will help Wales in areas of need where there are no homegrown prospects available.

Many fans were happy that the two have made a home in Wales and committed to the country. Halaholo’s two daughters have been born in Wales since he has been living there.

World Rugby’s residency rule is set to change in 2020 with an extension of the residency time from 36 to 60 months, but that has already sparked international recruitment at a younger age with a heap of top South African schoolboys being raided by overseas clubs.

The international game risks losing more integrity as nations continue to poach talent in order to strengthen their own national sides, putting more pressure on World Rugby to further strengthen eligibility criteria.

20 top South African schoolboys raided by overseas clubs as World Rugby’s five-year residency rule drives recruitment younger

The Season with Hamilton Boys High School 1st XV – Episode 2:

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Welsh fans equally unhappy and delighted as Kiwi 'project players' named in Pivac's first Wales squad