USA Rugby has made changes to its eligibility regulations for rugby sevens in order to advance the Olympic version of the game and make it easier for players to participate in sevens programs.
Rule Changes (Effective May 25, 2011):
Players may form and join any sevens club, regardless of their fifteens affiliation
A club may be registered solely to play sevens
Players may transfer from a fifteens club to a sevens club and transfers can be denied by their club for outstanding financial issues or disciplinary matters with their Territorial Union (TU) or Local Area Union (LAU)
For USA Rugby Men’s and Women’s All-Star Sevens championships, players will be held to that TU in which their sevens club is registered
For the USA Rugby Men’s and Women’s Club Sevens Championships, at least 10 players on the roster must meet National Team eligibility standards
For the USA Rugby Sevens Men’s and Women’s All-Stars Tournament, all players must meet National Team eligibility standards
Players may register with any sevens club, but may not play in any qualifying tournaments for any other club during a USA Rugby qualifying match
The changes were approved Wednesday by the Rugby Committee with the additional aim of aligning USA Rugby’s eligibility guidelines with those of the International Rugby Board while simultaneously increasing the competitiveness of domestic sevens competition.
National Team (Women’s and Men’s) Eligibility Requirements
Per IRB Regulation 8 a player may only play for the USA National Sevens Team if the player:
Was born in the United States; or
Has one parent or grandparent born in the United States; or
Has completed thirty-six consecutive months of Residence in the United States immediately preceding the time of the event; and
Has not played for the senior National Sevens Team of another Union; and
Meets all the other IRB standards for National Team Representation
Tam Brackenridge, a member of the Eligibility Committee, spearheaded the changes and noted that the more sevens opportunities available to players, the better.
“We want to make rugby sevens its own entity,” said Brackenridge, saying that in terms of administration, both fifteens and sevens should be accessible and one shouldn’t trump the other.
“These changes allow teams to get up and going right away and make playing sevens friendlier and also more competitive.”
Clubs already registered for the 2010-2011 membership cycle to not need to re-register as a result of these rule changes. A newly-formed club that plays sevens exclusively will need to register just as any other club would.
June 15 is the club registration deadline for the sevens season and July 15 is the deadline for players to transfer.