Stuart calls for clear eligibility rules - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart calls for clear eligibility rules

By Steve Jancetic 02/11/2006 08:23:52 PM Comments (0)

Australian Test coach Ricky Stuart has called for eligibility rules to be made more "black and white" after New Zealand was stripped of its Tri-Nations points for playing Australian-born hooker Nathan Fien.

The Rugby League International Federation has docked the Kiwis two competition points and banned Fien from taking any further part in the tournament after it was revealed he failed to satisfy eligibility criteria.

Stuart backed the RLIF's decision to shunt the Kiwis to the bottom of the Tri-Nations table, the verdict now assuring the Kangaroos a spot in the November 25 final regardless of other results.

"It shows the administration has a lot of credibility," Stuart said.

"It was really the only way they could go.

"It was the wrong thing to do by New Zealand but the correct decision has been made so now we can get on with the rest of the series.

"That was our first goal - to try and make the final - but it's important to go into the final with form improving."

While happy the matter had finally been dealt with, Stuart hoped some lessons had been learnt as a result of the debacle, which saw Fien play two Tests even though New Zealand officials knew it was his great grandmother and not grandmother that was from New Zealand.

Stuart said the eligibility issue had already reared its head at State of Origin level, most notably this year when both NSW and Queensland camps tried to claim Melbourne star Greg Inglis as their own.

"There's got to be some black and white rules at State of Origin level and at international level," Stuart said.

"It would make it a lot easier for the administrators and the players."

After a light day on Wednesday, the Kangaroos returned to the training paddock with a session at Cronulla's home ground Toyota Park.

Stuart said the whole `Grannygate' saga had not really affected his players but expected the news to have a dramatic effect on Great Britain ahead of their clash with the Lions at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night.

Great Britain are now level on zero competition points and can guarantee a berth in the final with either two wins over Australia or a victory over the Kiwis in Wellington on Saturday week.

"I think they will certainly get a lift out of this - not that they needed one," Stuart said.

"Now they are still well and truly in this competition."

Both teams will wrap up preparations for Saturday night's encounter with a final training run on Friday.

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