Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Steve Shingler Update

Steven Shingler

And so the war of words begins! The WRU have challenged the selection of Steven Shingler, claiming he is already tied to Wales as their U20 is their second string.

UPDATE: (1/12/11) The IRB have added their own response on the matter (see end of post).

IRB regulations seem to say that an U20 cap can only be binding if the opposition U20 team is also their nation’s second string (ie they don’t have an A team). So his cap against France may be the key. But now that the WRU might be using backup paper declarations, too. Does this mean the IRB regulations are unenforceable?

In response here is the SRU Press Release in full (highlighting is ours):

Scottish Rugby complies with International Rugby Board regulations and guidelines regarding the status of potentially Scotland qualified players.

Today we have named Steven Shingler in our squad for the opening two matches of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Steven’s mother was born in Dumfries and although he played for Wales under-20 against France under-20 last season, Steven has confirmed to Scottish Rugby that he declined to sign a declaration from the WRU that he was committed solely to representing Wales at senior level.

Steven has informed us that he made it clear that he wished to leave open his international eligibility as he was also eligible to represent Scotland and England as well as Wales.

Scottish Rugby believes we have acted in good faith in this matter and have also taken cognisance of an IRB ruling last year concerning two players who played for Wales under-20 against France under-20 in 2010 who now play for Connacht and are eligible for Ireland.

We are liaising with the IRB on this matter.

UPDATE: 12th January

The that Shingler is tied to Wales, but there may be a course of appeal to the that is available should the SRU or the player wish to pursue it. If I were the SRU I would investigate that as a possibility because a) we need all the players we can find and b) he won’t be all that welcome in Wales for a while I shouldn’t think.

Indeed by way of response the SRU has stated: “We remain fully supportive of the player and his sincere desire to represent Scotland and we intend to refer this matter to the IRB’s Regulations Committee in order that it can consider the case formally in accordance with IRB Regulation 2.”

The Current Regulations Committee in question is made up as follows: Peter Boyle (Chairman, IRE), Gerald Davies (WAL), Giancarlo Dondi (ITA), Tim Gresson (NZ), Oregan Hoskins (RSA), Jean-Pierre Lux (FRA), Bill Nolan (SCO) plus one independent member, Tim Gresson.

One vote each so far then? Or possible recusal. Three is a quorum.

It all will most likely come down to the fact that the IRB regulations talk about paperwork having to be submitted to register a player for one Union or another, but then seem to ignore it in terms of determining a player’s eligibility as they just have. If this is the case, why force them to sign the declaration? And shouldn’t you let them know not signing – as Shingler claims he did not – is still going to tie you anyway?

The match at the centre of the case appears to be this one, France U20 v Wales U20, in 2010, where Shingler played at fullback. He also played for the Wales team that beat Peter Wright’s U20 team 3-33 in the same tournament, a team that included Stuart Hogg (13), Mark Bennett (12) and Harry Leonard (10).

Hogg might have made it to the full Scotland squad; Shingler may not. That is now in the hands of the Regulations Committee.

9 Responses

  1. We don’t want him (YET) but you can’t have him!!
    Disappointing in the fact that he is eligible through a parent (mother) and not residency etc.
    Good player would be good for us. Here’s hoping Wales don’t **** this chance up

  2. Lets hope the WRU/SRU don’t make a hash of this and ruin the lad’s rugby career.
    If he “made it clear that he wished to leave open his international eligibility” before the France u20 game and the WRU still played him then they accepted his limitation. But lets hope it does not come down to words and the parsers of these – lawyers.

  3. Bit unfair to be tied to a country based on age grade rugby.

    Let’s hope he’s worth it.

  4. WRU Statement in Reply to SRU Statement

    “The Wales U20 team is currently the WRU-nominated side for qualification, which means that players who represent Wales at this level in certain games are then solely qualified for Welsh senior honours,” the Welsh insisted in a statement.

    “All Welsh players who represent Wales at U20 level against nations which also designate their U20 teams as their qualification sides are informed that they will then be registered as liable for Wales selection only at senior level.

    “Shingler played for Wales U20’s against France in 2011, before which he was specifically informed, as were his fellow squad members, that the match would confirm their sole qualification as potential Wales senior international candidates.

    “Shingler was told by the U20 team management that, if he played in the game, he would become a Wales qualified player and therefore ineligible for selection for any other nation.”

  5. The whole thing seems to depend on whether or not France’s U20 team are regarded as their 2nd XV. No one is disputing Wales U20 team is their 2nd XV as they got shot of their A Team years ago to cut costs.

    The position on France seems to be a bit vague. They no longer currently have an A Team but I’ve read elsewhere that there is regulation that states you can only change the nominated 2nd XV every 4 years (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012). I think that may mean France A was still, technically, the nominated 2nd XV. That would presumably mean WRU’s challenge was incorrect and that Shingler was not tied as a result of playing in that match?

    Can anyone shed any light on whether that point is true and if so does it mean that SRU are correct in what they say about Shingler’s eligibility?

    I, for one am happy for us to use all the rules on eligibility to our advantage and to strengthen the Scotland Squad. All other nations do, so we must.



  6. Graeme, I also saw that info on rugby boards having to declare what their 2nd team is every four years. What I am not clear on who France declared as their 2nd team back in 08 – their A team or U20s? Since then they have fielded an A team at times eg Churchill Cup 2010. Also did our A team not beat them in the final of that tournament in 2009? Think it was called the Nations Cup or something like that. Last year they did not field an A team, maybe because it was a RWC year? Not sure whether they played A fixtures in 08.

    Hopefully therefore that fra v wal u20 game will not be deemed a full 2nd XV fixture and also that the connacht players’ case has set a precedent. We have been crying out or a proper creative 12 for a decade and have had to put up with players like morrison and henderson for far too long.

    Hopefully the SRU will have done proper due diligence on this case in advance of the squad announcement and have consulted properly with the IRB so will get the green light.

  7. Dave,

    Yes, you’re spot on about the SRU and due diligence. Either this will be a massive coup ahead of the six nations to bring into the squad someone who sounds like a very good young player OR it could be massively embarrassing if the SRU have to climb down on this…. Hope it’s the former. And I hope he gets a couple of scores in Cardiff for good measure. G.

  8. Very embarassing that Scottish rugby has to resort to poaching a player from another nation. Steve Shingler is clearly Welsh born and bred!

    I suppose he can’t be good enough to play for Wales, too much young talent ahead of him in the pecking order!

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion