28th March 2018, 11:53
Quota players in European games to increase following WRL proposal
A resolution put forward by Wales Rugby League to double the amount of domestic quota players in European international games has been approved by the Rugby League European Federation.
The proposal was seconded by the French Federation before the RLEF members voted, with the outcome being 30 votes for and none against.
The new ruling, which comes into effect immediately, means a minimum of four players, previously two, in every international matchday 17 in European competition games, will have come through that nation’s pathway system before making their senior debut.
In the most recent encounter between Wales and another European side, Ireland, in last year’s World Cup, Wales fielded 10 players who came through their domestic pathway.
The last time that Wales fielded a side that had less than four players who came through the pathway was 32 matches and 11 years ago when they crashed out of the World Cup qualifiers. This was just a year after Wales Rugby League was formally recognised by the Welsh Sports Council and set to work on developing the domestic programme.
Since 2008, after implementing the homegrown policy in the men's national side, Wales have given 68 players new caps, 44 of whom have been brought through the pathway. This has led to Wales winning the European Championship three times as well as playing in the Four Nations and two World Cups.
WRL CEO Chris Thair said: “Whilst some nations with good player domestic programmes in place, such as Wales and France, have traditionally had much higher numbers of domestic quota players in their international teams, it would be unfair to those nations that aren’t as well developed to go higher at this stage.
“We have made our intentions clear however that we would like to see this steadily increase over the next decade or two, so it eventually becomes nine domestic quota players in a matchday 17, which is over half of the squad.
“The recently passed resolution moving to four domestic quota players is not radical however it is a small step forward from where we were previously. The international game must continue to do this across all its programmes and whilst slow at doing so, it is making progress which is essential to the sports continued growth.”