All Blacks World Cup winner 'available to play for Wallabies'
SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks World Cup winner Tawera Kerr-Barlow has reiterated his desire to change allegiance and play for the Wallabies.
The 32-year-old La Rochelle scrumhalf played for New Zealand on 27 occasions and came off the bench in the 2015 World Cup Final versus Australia.
It was last February, in an extensive RugbyPass interview, when he originally floated the idea of being able to swap countries and play the Wallabies. After all, he was Australian-born and had gone to New Zealand as a teenager to attend school and chase down his All Blacks dream.
Now, he would like to reverse that allegiance and play for the country of his birth and he has repeated the desire originally mentioned to RugbyPass earlier this year in a Top 14 pre-season interview published on rugbyrama.fr.
Six months ago, in an extensive conversation with RugbyPass, Kerr-Barlow had spoken about how he liked that international rugby had recently opened up its eligibility rules to now allow players capped by one country to play for another.
“It is a really positive thing,” he said at the time. “You get players who play a handful of Tests for a country and that is their eligibility shot and they have still got a lot to offer world rugby.
“We all want world rugby to be strong, we want it to be a spectacle and some of the best players in the world, they move overseas and they grow and they improve. You have got the likes of Charles Piutau in England, Steven Luatua is there, you have got Victor Vito in France, you have got all these guys who could add so much to their country.
“Even myself, I’d love to chuck on the Australian jersey as I spent the first part of life in Australia, my family is still there and I’m very grateful for what they have done for my family. My mum played for Australia. It [opening up eligibility] is a positive thing. You will get people saying, ‘Oh you know you’re not loyal’ or ‘How can you play for one country and play for another?’
“But if you are born in a country or your parents are born there and you feel a certain way about the country and you have got roots already established, then why not? I am a pretty open individual in terms of those sorts of things and I just want rugby to be the big thing I know it can be because if you love rugby you want it to improve.”
Now, ahead of his sixth season at La Rochelle, Kerr-Barlow has reiterated his interest in playing for the Wallabies, telling rugbyrama.fr: “Unlike New Zealand, Australia have a rule allowing players who are overseas to still be eligible for selection. I am available to play for the Wallabies!
“I was born there. I have a lot of ties in this country and if the staff calls me I will go without hesitation. It would be a great opportunity but for the moment I am focused on La Rochelle.”
By Liam Heagney, @RugbyPass