Fans would be the winner if rugby’s outdated eligibility rules were given a long-awaited shake-up.

That’s the message from two Pacific Island rugby stars who know a thing or two about being proud to represent their dual heritage.

Tim Nanai-Williams grew up in South Auckland dreaming of one day pulling on the All Blacks jersey. He got closer than most, turning out for the New Zealand Sevens team in 2008 and 2009.

But the former Chiefs utility back was able to switch his international allegiance in 2015 via the “Olympic loophole”, after to make himself eligible for the Manu Samoa fifteen-a-side team.

Now playing for Clermont in France, Nanai-Williams said the decision to play for Samoa was easy, but the process to make it a reality was much more difficult.

“It was a bit of an unknown thing at the time with it going to sevens, so they didn’t really know the way how they were going to go about things.

“All I got told was just to play sevens and we got told one tournament would be alright and it ended up being four. It was a tough one because throughout two years I was in literally just in limbo really.”


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