David Smith has had his French dream dashed by a New Zealand Sevens appearance in 2008.
The Samoan-born New Zealand wing was rushed into France’s Six Nations squad for their clash with Wales this weekend.
But his joy lasted less than 24 hours as it was confirmed his callup to the New Zealand Sevens team in 2008 for the world series event in Scotland would count against him.
France will now have to find another replacement after suffering a double injury blow with wingers Teddy Thomas and Marvin O’Connor being ruled out following Top 14 action last weekend.
Smith played for the Hurricanes, Blues and Western Force in Super Rugby, as well as Auckland, Wellington and Taranaki in the national championship. He now plays for Castres in the French Top 14 after moving from Toulon where he won the European Cup three times.
France had believed Smith qualified for the national side through residency after playing there since 2011.
But questions were raised because he played for the champion New Zealand Sevens team in 2008, called in to cover injuries ahead of the Edinburgh tournament.
Because sevens is now in the Olympics, there is a loophole that allows players previously tied to one country via sevens to switch allegiances. To do that, Smith would have had to play for the French sevens in an Olympic qualifying event, which he hasn’t done yet.
There have been reports that France have a letter from World Rugby in 2013 clearing Smith for international duty. But it seems that document was based on incomplete information and the French have been forced to do a u-turn on Smith.
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