Toni Pulu will be eligible to play for Wallabies

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    New Brumbies recruit Toni Pulu will be eligible to play for the Wallabies if coach Michael Cheika selects him.

    The American-born winger has spent two seasons with the Chiefs in Super Rugby and after an impressive debut season and was made a member of the full squad for 2017 and 2018, where he became a permanent fixture in the team.

    Across that time period, Pulu scored 14 tries across 32 games and it looks as if he will slot straight into the Brumbies backline this coming season.

    The signing for the Brumbies is seen as a key one, and given he holds an Australian passport, he will be able to represent the Wallabies should the need arise.

    The deal will see Pulu remain at the Brumbies for the next two years and it’s expected he will slot straight into the backline.

    The 29-year-old said he was looking forward to spending time in Canberra.

    “I am thrilled to be joining the Brumbies and am looking forward to beginning a new stage of my rugby career in Australia,” he said.

    “The Brumbies are a well-known and well-respected organisation and I have been impressed by what I have seen and heard when playing against them. They are known for their free-flowing rugby and for their unique family culture.

    “I have enjoyed my time with the Chiefs immensely but am very much looking forward to moving to Canberra and settling in with my new club.”

    It’s unlikely Chieka will call him up to the Wallabies anytime soon, with the winger missing the Bledisloe Cup train-on squad ahead of the Rugby Championship kicking off in the coming weeks.

    Pulu’s only previous international rugby was in sevens competition for Niue, where he played three competitions, including the Gold Coast Sevens during 2011.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 2000 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • Roar Guru

      August 8th 2018 @ 3:21pm
      Machpants said | August 8th 2018 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

      When the initial stories said he had ‘World Rugby dispensation’, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. In fact Pulu was never eligible for Niue, shouldn’t have played for them, thus wasn’t ever ‘captured’. Prior ot rules change in 2014 an error like that was deemed to be the Union’s error, not the player. So he is eligible for USA, NZ and Oz.

      https://www.worldrugby.org/news/353753

      No such dispensation has been granted to the player because none is required.

      While a 2014 World Rugby Regulations Committee hearing determined that a breach of Regulation 8 had occurred as Pulu was not eligible for Niue, under the regulation as it was at the time, it was the union, not the player, who was culpable for any breach.

      The union was therefore sanctioned and the player deemed not to be captured by Niue. The regulation has since been reformed to apply joint culpability for union and player, but it is not retrospectively applied.

      Therefore, subject to meeting current eligibility criteria set out under Regulation 8, Pulu is free to represent a nation for which he has a close & credible link.

      • August 8th 2018 @ 5:01pm
        JohnB said | August 8th 2018 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

        Thanks for answering the immediate question on reading he’d played 7s for Niue!

        Might be considered a little strange that you’re in a better position after doing a particular thing when you shouldn’t have done that thing, compared to how you’d be if you had been permitted to do it.

        But people move around all the time now and good luck to the bloke.

        • Roar Guru

          August 8th 2018 @ 6:07pm
          Machpants said | August 8th 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

          Yeah I’d imagine the ineligible guys who played for the European teams in RWC qualifiers will be banned from international rugby for a time, but not permanently. I guess the length of the ban will depend on how innocent they think the player is, i.e. did they believe they were eligible or just ignored that fact?

    • August 8th 2018 @ 7:15pm
      bluesfan said | August 8th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

      Frankly this is a little embarrassing for Oz – the guy was never mentioned in any discussion for NZ Rep teams and now he is going to shoot over to Oz? Good player but a bit of an injury magnet.

      i mean Nasarani, 2 Fijian wingers and now Pulu – you really have to say that their is something very wrong with the development pathways for Oz players. Surely the Brumbies could have picked up an U20 players or even someone like a Andrew Kellaway to develop their team.

      Think it sends a really negative message to young up and coming Oz players.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 12:25am
        Faith said | August 9th 2018 @ 12:25am | ! Report

        Pulu works out great for the Chiefs but I doubt whether he would even be in top 15 wingers in NZ. He’ll prolly be in WBs EOYT …

      • August 9th 2018 @ 5:22am
        Alexa said | August 9th 2018 @ 5:22am | ! Report

        Agree. By all means hes a good player but nowhere near the ABs…. Oz surely have other younger options born in Oz and who came up through their systems…

      • Roar Guru

        August 9th 2018 @ 6:16am
        Train Without A Station said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:16am | ! Report

        But it’s not embarrassing for NZ that the Crusaders constantly have a couple of Australian developed players, and Canterbury just signed Sef Fa’agase?

        Naisarani and Sefa Naivalu both came through the Australian system too.

        They played club rugby. They then made NRC. They then signed Super Rugby contracts. Neither were recruited to Australia to play professional rugby.

        • August 9th 2018 @ 7:37am
          julius said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:37am | ! Report

          “But it’s not embarrassing for NZ that the Crusaders constantly have a couple of Australian developed players, and Canterbury just signed Sef Fa’agase?”

          Who are these “Australian developed players” “constantly” in the Crusaders? And don’t say Pete Samu…His development was at Tasman. Alaalatoa, another Australian reject, was developed at Manawatu.

          I have no idea who Fa’agase is. I suspect he’ll be paid a pie and a coke at Canterbury and be thankful for the opportunity for some decent coaching.

          • Roar Guru

            August 9th 2018 @ 12:03pm
            Train Without A Station said | August 9th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            You mean Pete Samu who has already been in their Wider Squad played for the Waratahs in trial matches wasn’t developed by Australia? Just because your ignorant of it, doesn’t mean it didn’t occur.

            Ala’alatoa had already been capped in Super Rugby also. He was immediately signed after 1 season of Mitre 10 Cup where he basically arrived for the start of the season. Must have been a huge 10 weeks to do all his developing in that time…

            Likewise Samu played 1 season of Tasman and was immediately brought into the Crusaders wider squad for 2015 and played for their development team.

            Fa’agase has about 40 Super Rugby caps and was in an extended Wallabies squad last year.

            Then there’s Digby Ioane, Nemani Nadolo, Ben Volavola to name a couple.

            Tyrel Lomax and Guy Millar at the Highlanders. Then there’s Murray Douglas who came through dewar shield and Melbourne Rising to make his Rebels debut last year who plays for the Hurricanes. Jack Debreczeni at Northland. Ben Volavola in the past. Nigel Ah Wong at Counties. JP Sauni at Auckland last year. Lalakai Foketi at BOP.

            Just to name a few recent ones…

            The reality is unless a player is on a full super rugby contract in a australia, it’s financially more rewarding to play Mitre 10 Cup than stay and play NRC. That’s they players are going over.

            • August 11th 2018 @ 8:58pm
              Rhys Bosley said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

              Sam Lousi and Toby Smith to the Canes are two others.

        • August 10th 2018 @ 10:59am
          bluesfan said | August 10th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          Well Fa’agase was actually born in NZ – so I guess he is returning home.

          I’m referring to that a 29 year old player has being picked up to play professional rugby for the Brumbies and then potentially the Wallabies.

          Can you highlight any 29 year old players that NZ have recruited from OZ to play for the AB’s?

          Naisarani has not even being in Oz for 3 years – so how has he gone through the system. Naivalu also had to wait awhile to meet the qualifying period.

          • Roar Guru

            August 10th 2018 @ 11:48am
            Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            I’m guessing if Ben Franks or Kerr-Barlow had come to play for Australian team you wouldn’t have considered that as coming home…

            Fa’agase is a product of Aus rugby development having basically played his entire rugby life here.

            Pulu hasn’t been picked up to be a potentially Wallaby. He’s merely eligible, which is an important factor as we have limited contracts for non-eligible players.

            Naisarani came here to play club rugby. From that he then made NRC and Super Rugby. He wasn’t recruited to Australia as a professional.

            Likewise Naivalu came here to play amateur club rugby (well he actually came here with a church program). From there he was picked for NRC and performed so well he got a Super Rugby contract from that. He was never recruited to come here for he purpose of playing professional rugby.

            Do you count Fekitoa as Tongan?

            • Roar Guru

              August 10th 2018 @ 2:27pm
              Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              Actually looking again the article doesn’t even mention anybody saying he’s in contention for the Wallabies or even being considered. Just that he is eligible.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 11:29am
        Phil said | August 9th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        Oh,bluesfan,and NZ have never had any Fijian wingers???

      • August 9th 2018 @ 2:51pm
        Cliff Bishkek said | August 9th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        Agree 100%. I do not think he is good enough and at the moment the SR Franchises and Wallabies have many wingers of better quality.

        Also, the consideration of U20s and NRC – look at home first and give a younger “possible developing” player a go.

        Professionalism does tend to kill the chances of younger players and fringe players getting an opportunity.

        • Roar Guru

          August 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm
          Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          U20s and NRC players are not immediately ready for the S&C demands of Super Rugby.

    • August 8th 2018 @ 9:28pm
      Aussieinexile said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

      Absolute Bollocks, Who writes those things ( The WR Statement)? The 18-year-old summer intern? World Rugby has an obligation that the laws are understood by the media and their fans.

      Why write something incomplete like this? No wonder the Unions can’t get it right.

      They should have stated :

      1. a) When was the law changed? b)Provide a link to the law and cite the law.

      2. “Pulu is free to represent a nation for which he has a close & credible link” –

      a) What is a close &credible link under World Rugby Law?

      AS ABOVE: b) Provide a link to the law c) Cite the law.

    • August 9th 2018 @ 5:18am
      P2R2 said | August 9th 2018 @ 5:18am | ! Report

      at 29 years old – he is a bit long in the tooth for an International Career…but hey, Aussie can will take him for sure….soon the WBs will be full of NZ and Pacific Islanders….

    • August 9th 2018 @ 1:59pm
      DaveJ said | August 9th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

      It seems he’s never lived in Australia. If he’s a product of another rugby country he shouldn’t be playing for us, unless he’s moving here for non-rugby reasons, which he isn’t. Just as Shields shouldn’t be playing for England, Stander and Aki shouldn’t be playing for Ireland, Spedding and co shouldn’t be in a French jersey, etc, etc. Full stop. Or let’s just have franchises and forget about national representation. And If we can’t find two wingers better than some 29 year old who can’t make an NZ Super Rugby side we should just give up.

    • August 10th 2018 @ 2:51pm
      Real Rugby said | August 10th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

      Omg first of all!! 1. He is Australian Citizen!! 2. If he is chosen to represent the Wallabies then that clearly states that the coach believes in his skills and his ability to add on to the already great wallabies squad! 3. Just because he has come from NZ don’t mean anything! I seen this sort of rubbish play out with Quad Cooper! Give the bloody guy a chance!!!! You all negative people sound like Donald trump! He’s Australian Citizen so he should be treated like one! He is fast, strong and a very skilled player and by any means I think will be a great addition to the wallabies squad!
      I wish Tony Pulu (the Australian) the best of luck in the brumbies and hope to see him in the wallabies.

      • August 10th 2018 @ 6:29pm
        Aussieinexile said | August 10th 2018 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

        That is beside the point, the issue is dual representation, also the statement from World Rugby doesn’t cite specific laws or where is the 2014 change written, how is it he got away with playing for Niue?

        Clearly lots of players had switched national teams in the preceding years, hence the argument from my point of view.

        In regards to Mr Pulu, No one knew of this ruling in 2014. Otherwise I am sure he would have been called into the Eagles World Cup squad for 2015.

        I think people tend to forget that he was in the Niue squad back in 2008 playing XV’s. As a Professional players his hedging his bets but what is staggering why didn’t World Rugby confirmed his eligibility back then and allow him to play for several years? who does the paper work in Dublin??

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