Bristol Bear’s and former All Black Charles Piutau’s hopes of playing at next year’s World Cup have taken a huge hit. The powerful utility back had hoped to switch his allegiance to Tonga due to the All Black’s selection policy meaning only players playing in New Zealand would be selected.
Charles was hoping to represent Tonga for the 2nd time in next years World Cup in Japan having represented Tonga in 2010 in the IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina.
There currently is a loop hole in the rules and regulations where if a player completes a 3 year stand down period from International Duty they can become eligible playing for a new country in an Olympic-qualifying Sevens tournament.
Piutau has completed the first part of the equation having last pulled on the All Blacks Jersey in July 2015 but the next Olympic Qualifying competition will not take place until after next years World Cup in Japan despite attempts to bring it forward.Embed from Getty Images
“We were actively exploring a group of players, not just Charles, that were in the same boat and whether we could qualify them before the World Cup, and we can’t, It got ruled out a couple of months ago.”Tongan coach Toutai Kefu told Stuff.co.nz.
I guess we’ll just have to wait until France 2023 to potentially see Piutau light it up in World Cup action, for Tonga or perhaps the All Blacks should he decide to make a return to NZ shores.
Need a reminder of how good this man is, check out the highlights below.
England’s Final November Test Confirmed
England have announced their fourth and final opponent of their November series this year
England have confirmed that Tonga will be their fourth opponent in their November series this year.
The game will take place at Twickenham on Saturday November 21st at 15:15 in what will be the third of their four tests.
It will be the fourth meeting of the two sides, but their first outside of a Rugby World Cup. They last played against one another last year at the World Cup in Japan, when England won as they have done on the other previous two occasions.
While after the Tongan encounter they face another southern hemisphere team in Australia on the 28th in the final of their Quilter Internationals for 2020.
Those tests could go a long way to deciding England’s seeding in the draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, with the draw set to take place at some point in November.
Before then the English will be focusing on the Six Nations, where they remain in title contention heading into the last two rounds.
Rugby Australia Claim Fox Sports Haven’t Walked Away
Last week it was reported that Fox Sports are set to end their 25-year long relationship with Australian Rugby, but Rugby Australia have now said otherwise
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has claimed that Fox Sports haven’t walked away from the Wallabies and believes they could continue their relationship into the future.
Last week it was reported that the media organisation were set to end their 25-year relationship with Rugby Australia, but despite not having come to a deal that suits all Castle’s believes they will bid for rights next month.
“We went through a negotiating process with them (Fox Sports) through their exclusive negotiating period. Unfortunately we couldn’t get to a place we were both comfortable with. So now we’re in tender and we would expect that as a market process they would step into that process,” she said.
Reports state that Fox Sports had ended their relationship with Rugby Australia after the two bodies failed to find common ground on a deal between 2021 and 2025.
Rugby Australia and Castle are set to make a historic move next month when they bring the broadcast rights to the market for the first time since the professional era began, but as stated above she is confident of an agreement between the two either way.
There is a fear among many that Australia’s struggling Super Rugby sides, three of which remain without a win so far this season, will make it harder for the organisation to get a good deal over the line.
However, all will become clearer by next month and Castle and co will be hoping that they can get the best deal possible.
Ireland Climb in Latest World Rankings
Ireland have had the biggest boost in the latest World Rugby Rankings ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw later this year
The boys in green have taken over the No 4 spot in the rankings following their 24-14 win over Wales in the Six Nations over the weekend, with their opponents dropping down to fifth.
It is a major boost for the Irish and gives them something to hold on to heading into the rest of this year’s fixtures as they are now currently in the top seeds ahead of the draw for the pool stages of France 2023.
World Rugby announced recently that they will hold the draw later this year meaning that teams will have less time to climb the rankings than last time around when they had 18 months between the previous World Cup and the draw for the next one.
A total of twelve teams will head into the draw as seeds in three brackets with the top four in the rankings being first seeds, meaning as of now Wales would be second seeds along with France, Australia and Japan.
Elsewhere in the rankings Georgia have moved up ahead of Italy, following the former’s latest two defeats in the Six Nations, while the biggest risers have been Portugal, who have moved from 22nd to 20th, but Russia have dived from 20th to 25th.
Ireland will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the Six Nations campaign when they take on the third-ranked team England away from home, whom they may look to overtake in the rankings before the draw.
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