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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why Fans Shouldn't Worry About MacGinty Switching To Ireland

With AJ MacGinty joining Connacht back in his native Ireland some Irish fans are already hoping he's able to switch to represent Ireland while some U.S. fans fear it will happen. Don't worry, it's not going to happen. MacGinty is locked into playing for the Eagles and it would take a combination of factors stretching years and years for MacGinty to make the switch. Repeat: it's not going to happen.

Under World Rugby rules a player has to meet the following criteria to switch.

  • "demonstrate a genuine, close, credible and established national ink with the country of the Union for which they have been selected.
  • for the Sevens Series: "participation as a member of a Participating Team in no less than 4 tournaments in the Series in the season designated as an Olympic Qualification season
  • for European qualification: participate "in not less that 50% of the tournament in that Olympic Qualification series in one season"
  • for all other regions qualification: participate "in not less than 50% of the matches in that tournament"
  • "Participation in the Olympic Games"
Take the jump to read more.
Okay, MacGinty definitely meets the first criteria having grown up in Ireland and played for several teams in the country. On point number two it doesn't apply because Ireland aren't on the Sevens Series. Point number three has already come and gone but on point four Ireland are in the repechage next year. MacGinty could in theory play in that, and then if Ireland qualify for the Olympics, he would have to play. Again, unlikely. 

But here's the kicker. Any player switching countries has a stand down period of three years playing 15s for another country and 18 months for 7s. Since MacGinty only played for the Eagles a little over a week ago he obviously hasn't or won't meet the requirement for either. He will not play for Ireland. He will only play for the Eagles going forward.

That said, don't look for him to play for the Eagles 7s as Olympic regulations mean that players have to have a passport to play. MacGinty, as far as we know, still only has an Irish passport. Unless that changes in the next year he'll be playing with Connacht and the Eagles. 


  1. Also you know, that Sexton guy is pretty good in a 10 shirt.

    1. Yeah, I don't say this to run the guy down - I think he is going to be a terrific flyhalf for us for years to come, and this move will only help him improve - but if he were good enough to play for Ireland, he'd have never played for the US.

  2. I think he wasn't considered for play in Ireland three years ago. By his own admission he was "scrawny". I think time playing here and all the training for Life helped him rise to the top in the US, which he wouldn't have gotten in Ireland.

  3. Oh, and that Sexton guy? He's a keeper.