by Jaylee Sapias – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has announced they will be reducing the number of interchanges from 12 to 10 for 2016.
The rule change brings the international game into line with the Super League, which made a similar move in 2012.
Although the NRL initially agreed to move to eight interchanges this year, the agreement was recently finalised by the RLIF board.
The new rule will be first implemented internationally at the Anzac Test, which will be held in Australia in May, and will be then used in the Four Nations Series to be held in the UK in October through to November.
The RLIF board has also added a division to the regulation regarding the eligibility of players for international fixtures.
This division will see proper screening for players whose birth certificates show they were born in states that are no longer recognised.
The new rule allows players who wish to represent a national team to choose one entity that constitutes their former birthplace. If the player wishes to represent another national team, he may not choose another entity that constitutes his birthplace, but an additional country altogether, considering the following guidelines:
1. The country in which he was born;
2. The country in which his parents/grandparents were born;
3. The country that has been his principal place of residence for a period of three years
Any national team who wishes to select a player in this situation may appeal to the RLIF board, where final decisions are to be made and are not subject to change.