Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Toni Pulu Moves To Brumbies, Becomes Australian Eligible

Toni Pulu has changed clubs moving from the Chiefs in New Zealand where he has spent the bulk of his life to the Brumbies in Australia. Maybe the most interesting thing about the move is that despite having been born in the United States, growing up in New Zealand, and even playing for Niue on the World Sevens Series Pulu has been given special clearance by World Rugby to be eligible for Australia. Pulu qualifies for Australia on parentage. The move should see him get more regular time in Super Rugby.

The move is interesting because it was thought that he wouldn't be eligible to play for the United States because he had played for Niue on the World Sevens Series. Playing for your nation at a World Series event caps your for that country. However, there are a couple of notable exceptions. According to this article from Rugby World if you aren't 20 years old on a Series event or 18 at the World Cup Sevens or the Olympics. Weirdly, neither of those apply to Pulu as he played for Niue at the Gold Coast Sevens in 2011. Counting his late November birthday that still would have made him 21. But it looks like World Rugby gets to make up exceptions once again. One has to wonder that the same exception might be granted to the U.S. if it doesn't work out with Australia although it's doubtful the Brumbies would have signed him if he had agreed to play for the Eagles. 

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