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***’.
Sorry, but Willis Halaholo is not Welsh. Change the system.
— Ieuan Morgan (@ieuanmorgan) November 19, 2019
You can't begrudge the players…they're doing what we'd all do in their shoes. Take the opportunity and the cash.
But…shall we just agree it's a total crock of shit that Willis Halaholo and Johnny McNicholl will play for Wales?
Feel free to change my mind ?
— Eggchasers Podcast (@RugbyPodcast) November 19, 2019
@mattgodwin17 here’s a great Welsh name …. our latest recruit …. Willis Halaholo ?
— Neil Rowlands (@rowls5064) November 19, 2019
Nothing against McNicholl or Halaholo, bothe quality players! But the residency rule is bloody awful! Don’t see how anyone who has lived in a country for 3 years can classes as being that nationality!! #Wales #Rugby @WRU
— Lewis Toms (@Lewisboy1907) November 19, 2019
This is so wrong. ? pic.twitter.com/iWZuoTRj80
— Gavin Henson (@gavinhenson82) November 19, 2019
Does the 4th best team in the world need to bring in two kiwis?
— Paul Tait (@Argentina_2027) November 19, 2019
Shameful that yet again residency players are picked over home grown players, there has to be some coming through
— DaveC (@davec9710) November 19, 2019
The residency rule has become an absolute joke over the years this yet again confirms it, being born welsh counts for fuck all these days
— Paul Warlow (@waldowarlow) November 19, 2019
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.
I can’t wait for Halaholo and McNicholl to score a couple of cracking tries and for the xenophobic knobheads to suddenly change their minds.
— Daniel Lloyd-Wilce (@LloydWilce) November 19, 2019
Why are people complaining about Mcnicholl and Halaholo in the Wales squad? Everyone loves Parkes and Anscombe? Baffling me! @WelshRugbyUnion
— Ricky Chambers (@RickShow1) November 19, 2019
Great to see McNicholl and Halaholo in the Welsh squad. Revolution begins then post Gatland
— Jamie Pryor (@JamieBluebird) November 19, 2019
probably gunna be a lot of naysayers when it comes to Halaholo being selected for Wales, fact is, he qualifies, he wants to play for us & he & his family have embraced this country & it’s traditions, as well as two of his daughters have been born here! #WillisIsAWelshman ??????? pic.twitter.com/zkt4J4sD9l
— Iain Hunt ??????? (@IainHunt) November 19, 2019
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.
The Season with Hamilton Boys High School 1st XV – Episode 2:
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