Rugby League Ireland have confirmed that they will operate a new quota system when it comes to picking the natonal side.
A statement from the RLI explains: “A minimum of 8 players selected in senior international squads must have played club rugby in Ireland. That number is at least 6 when Ireland play in the World Cup or European Championship and are likely to face tier-one nations such as England or Australia.”
The policy will be in place for the World Cup qualifying games against against Spain and Russia next month.
“The incentive to qualify for and play in the World Cup is massive and I’m confident our squad will be strong enough to achieve this.
“Rugby league is growing in popularity throughout Ireland — there are players coming into the game with considerable pedigree in other sports such as rugby union and GAA [Gaelic games].
“The decision to ensure that all international squads consist of a greater number of players who come from the domestic competition acknowledges and supports this growth.
“The home-grown players in the international squads will improve as a result of training and playing with the overseas professionals and this will feed into the domestic game when they return to their clubs, providing encouragement for all those playing the game in Ireland and helping to build a sustainable domestic game.
“These players will still have to earn the right to wear the Ireland jersey but they now know there is a clear and defined pathway to international sport for them.”
Ireland will play development matches against Malta (October 8) and Jamaica (October 16) at the Carlisle Grounds in Bray, Co Wicklow, before the World Cup qualifiers against Spain (October 22) in Valencia, and Russia (October 29) in Bray.