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 IRB have now responded with a preliminary indication that Shingler is tied to Wales, but there may be a course of appeal to the regulations committee 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.