Thursday, May 29, 2014

International Rugby: Callum Black remains U.S Eligible


Photo Ulster Rugby
USA born prop Callum Black has been selected to represent Emerging Ireland in the upcoming IRB Nations Cup in Romania. The Irish team is one of four to compete in the tournament set to take place in Bucharest from June 13-22. Emerging Ireland is to play matches against the senior teams of Romania, Russia and Uruguay - two of whom will play at Rugby World Cup 2015. The inclusion of Black raises questions over the possbility of him being able to play for his country of birth, if selected, in the future. However should the USA seek to select him the North American union will indeed be able to do so as despite being selected he will remain USA eligible.    



The international laws on capping players were last updated on February 05 2014. At this time the eligibility capping laws clarified that should a player play for the senior side, the A team or the Sevens side of any IRB defined nation then he / she is not able to play for another.

In the case of Callum Black being selected for Emerging Ireland the Washington D.C born front-rower will remain eligible for both the USA and England due to Emerging Ireland not being Ireland's A team. IRB regulations confirm that a male player must play for the Irish Wolfhounds and not Emerging Ireland to have his eligibility capped.

Should Black make one of more appearances for the Irish team in Romania he will therefore still be able to play for the USA. He remains a strong candidate to play at Rugby World Cup 2015 for the USA Eagles and would, arguably, provide a significant boost to the front-row options. The most recent USA squad that faced Uruguay in Rugby World Cup qualification matches featured four props - Eric Fry, Olive Kilifi, Titi Lamositele and Nicholas Wallace. Of the four Fry and Lamositele are to play at the elite level next season with Fry playing for Newcastle and Lamositele for Saracens.

Black has been playing for Northern Irish province Ulster since 2011. He was born in the USA and raised in England, playing professional rugby for the Worcester Warriors before joining Ulster. In the soon to be completed Rabo Direct Pro 12 season Black made eighteen appearances for Ulster. He has previously represented Ireland and under 18, 19 and 21 levels but, nevertheless, can still play for the country of his birth.

Black would thus have needed to have already played for one of the Irish Wolfhounds, England Saxons or USA Selects to have had his eligibilty confirmed by one of the three IRB member nations. Countries that do not have an official A team such as France and Wales have their players eligibility defined by playing at Under 20 level. Former Scotland under 20 player Tommaso Allan was able to go on to play for his country of birth, Italy, due to Scotland having an A team but former Welsh under 20 player Steven Shingler was not able to play for Scotland due to Wales not having an A side. 

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