Former All Black Malakai Fekitoa has been making headlines recently for his successful code and country switch. The former New Zealand representative ran out as captain for Tonga at the Monaco 7s, thereby securing eligibility for his home country at the 2023 World Cup.
Players are eligible to represent another country in an Olympic qualifying event after they have already played for another nation if they hold a passport for the country and have been out of Test-level rugby for three years.
FEKITOA: “I want to contribute something great to Tonga, my country”
Unfortunately, Tonga missed out on the semis after winning just one match in pool play, meaning they will also miss out on their Tokyo Olympic dreams.
However, the good news is that Fekitoa met the level of required participation and is now eligible for the 2023 World Cup. Not only him, but former Wallaby loose forward Lopeti Timani and former Australian Sevens international Afusipa Taumoepeau.
Fekitoa’s successful move could potentially pave the way for other big names, such as Charles Piutau (also Tonga) to make similar moves in the future.
Malakai Fekitao 💣 pic.twitter.com/1FAwt4E8dM
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) June 19, 2021