Kangaroos selector Darren Lockyer believes international eligibility laws need a re-think after Australia’s controversial selection of Semi Radradra for the upcoming Test against New Zealand.
The Fijian native will make his Kangaroos debut in Friday’s annual mid-year Test against the Kiwis after nominating to play for Australia last month through residential qualification.
Lockyer made no apologies for picking the in-form Parramatta winger, but said the circumstances surrounding his selection must be re-examined.
“The eligibility stuff around international football at and put back on the agenda about how we can do it better,” Lockyer said on the Sunday Footy Show.
“The eligibility rule is a different debate. I’ve got my own opinions on all that stuff, but that was put aside. Semi is eligible to play for Australia so you’ve got to pick the best team available to you.”
Under current eligibility rules in the Rugby League International Federation, players can only make one switch before the end of the next World Cup, or the expiry of two years, whichever is earlier.
It means Radradra’s decision to switch allegiances mean he is now unable to represent Fiji until after the next World Cup in 2017.
Radradra previously represented the Bati in 2013 and 2014.
Lockyer has previously stated that Radradra shouldn’t be playing for Australia.
“I don’t believe Radradra should be allowed to wear either the sky blue or the green and gold jumpers… He is as Fijian as Kava,” he wrote in a column for News Corp Australia.
Lockyer, who was appointed selector just last month, said Brisbane winger Corey Oates was also discussed as a possible left wing candidate, but conceded Radradra’s current form was too hard to overlook.
“His form warranted to be selected there. Everyone’s looking forward to seeing him play… He’s still going to inspire Fijians to want to play rugby league,” he said.
The Australian squad convene for camp on Monday.