All Blacks XV will not capture international eligibility

Fears the new All Blacks XV would tie players' eligibility to New Zealand and prevent them from representing Samoa have been allayed.

New Zealand Rugby's newly announced 'A' side will apparently not be nominated as the official second-tier national side recognised by World Rugby, so will not be a vehicle to capture eligibility like the All Blacks and All Blacks Sevens teams.

Radio New Zealand's Vinnie Wylie reported that New Zealand Rugby had agreed with Pacific Rugby Players for All Blacks XV players in 2020 not to have their international eligibility locked in.

"We were just working through the detail but I've been reassured by both [New Zealand Rugby chief rugby officer] Nigel Cass and Rob [Nichol from the New Zealand Rugby Players Association] that it's been agreed if this team goes ahead, which obviously has had to come under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, that it wouldn't be a capturing team," Pacific Rugby Players chief executive Aayden Clarke told Wylie.

Clarke said the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian rugby unions would have been displeased if the All Blacks XV prevented players from playing for their island countries.

"I know I've seen plenty on social media and also other stakeholders asking that question - and quite rightly to be honest - but we've had reassurance that it's not going to be so we're feeling a lot more comfortable about that now."

Junior All Blacks Robbie Fruean and Nick Williams were denied the opportunity to ever represent Samoa because they played for New Zealand's second-tier side, and there were fears the same fate could befall the likes of Solomon Alaimalo, Mark Telea, Stephen Perofeta, Du'Plessis Kirifi and Vince Aso if they were selected for the All Blacks XV in their fixtures at the end of this year.

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