AUCKLAND: New Zealand could be hit with a heavy fine and possible expulsion from the International Rugby Board world sevens series after fielding two players who had previously played for Samoa.
The New Zealand Rugby Union was yesterday urgently checking the status of two members of its 2004 seven-a-side squad, Kevin Senio and Sosene Anesi, after it emerged they had played for Samoa at the Hong Kong Sevens in March 2000.
Under strict IRB rules introduced in January 2000, players are only allowed to represent one country during their career. The eligibility regulations were tightened to stop rich nations poaching talent from poorer countries.
Unions who breach the rule risk a £100,000 mandatory fine for each case of fielding an ineligible player plus possible suspension from IRB competitions.
The regulations could spell disaster as they are currently leading the 2004 IRB world sevens circuit. Both Senio and Anesi played in the Singapore and Hong Kong legs of this year's competition. AFP