Player Eligibility Guide

This eligibility guide is intended to help players and Unions comply with World Rugby Regulation 8 which governs the eligibility of players to represent particular Unions.

What is Regulation 8? 

World Rugby Regulation 8 sets out criteria for being eligible to represent a Union. The Regulation is detailed and has a helpful Explanatory Guideline that explains the background and how the Regulation is applied in practice.

It is the responsibility of the Union and the individual player to make sure that the player is eligible to represent the Union in accordance with Regulation 8.

How do I know if a player is eligible? 

There are two key factors to take into account to make sure that Regulation 8 is complied with:

  1. Making sure that the player is eligible to represent the Union – this can be based on either:
    • birthplace (of the player or his/her parent or grandparent); or
    • residency


  1. Making sure that the player has not already represented another Union – this is known as being “captured” by another Union. Players can usually only represent one Union in his/her lifetime.

How can I check a player's specific circumstances? 

There are many specific factors that you need to consider when you are checking the above criteria. The World Rugby Eligibility Checker is a helpful guide that will take you through your individual circumstances to identify whether there are any eligibility issues that you need to be aware of.

Does the checker guarantee that a player is eligible? 

No. The checker cannot give a guarantee that a player is eligible but it will flag any issues that a player can then raise with his/her Union or with World Rugby.

What other steps can be taken to ensure that a player is eligible?

Before representing a Union for the first time, Unions and players should take the following steps:

  1. Use the Eligibility Checker
  2. Go through the Regulation 8 Checklist
  3. Fill in the standard form declaration contained in Regulation 8. The Union is obliged to retain the declaration and the supporting documentation which provides evidence of a Player’s compliance with Regulation 8.
  4. In the event of any doubt whatsoever about whether a player has previously represented another Union, the Union should submit a formal request for clarification from the other Union

What are the consequences of breaching Regulation 8? 

The consequences for breaching Regulation 8 are serious. A Union may be subject to a range of sanctions including fines (of up to £100,000), points deductions, suspension or expulsion from competitions. A player may also be subject to sanctions including suspension from rugby. It is therefore very important that a Union and player are fully satisfied that a player is eligible before the player first represents the Union.

World Rugby is available to answer any queries and to help Unions and players to comply with Regulation 8.

Queries in the first instance can be directed to [email protected]