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BBC Wales's Adrian Masters reports
"Nobody ever questioned Colin Charvis' Welshness"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Adrian Masters reports
"The Welsh Rugby Union understood Charvis had a Welsh grandfather"
 real 28k

Wyre Davies reports for the BBC
"The news is unlikely to affect Charvis' place against Ireland"
 real 28k

Friday, 31 March, 2000, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Charvis' Welsh roots in doubt
Colin Charvis
Colin Charvis' debut for Wales has been called into question
Colin Charvis will play in Saturday's international against Ireland - despite revelations questioning his past eligibility for Wales.

An investigation by BBC Wales has revealed that the Wales flanker may not have been eligible to make his international debut in 1996.

Checks have revealed no apparent Welsh family connection on either side of the family.

The influential player, though, will be playing for Wales on Saturday at Lansdowne Road against Ireland.

He now qualifies under the three-year residency rule.

Team manager David Pickering insisted that Charvis would not be withdrawn from the national team.

He said everything on the issue of eligibility was in Tasker Watkin's report to the International Rugby Board.

Charvis moved to Swansea RFC from London Welsh in 1995.

The then Wales manager Kevin Bowring picked him for the national side the following season.

The news comes as the International Rugby Board considers the eligibility status of Wales' overseas players Shane Howarth and Brett Sinkinson.

Question marks

Welsh Rugby Union Secretary Dennis Gethin said the eligibility issue of all the Wales players was the subject of a report to the International Rugby Board.

He told BBC Wales that the WRU had believed Charvis was eligible to play for Wales four years ago.

"The evidence we had was that one of his grandparents was Welsh. Whether that was right or wrong will have to be seen," said Mr Gethin.

"Charvis is eligible to play now and that is the main matter."

Charvis, who has declined to comment on the matter, is reported to have previously said a Welsh family connection exists on his mother's side of the family.

The WRU understood Charvis had a Welsh grandfather, believed to have been from Cardiff.

His three year spell with London Welsh added to the belief that the player had a Welsh background.

But question marks have been raised following formal checks into the player's links with Wales.

Strict criteria

The BBC investigation into Charvis's own credentials has revealed that London Welsh formerly operated a more strict criteria for selecting players from a Welsh background.

Ron Holly of London Welsh told Radio Wales said the club was able to use its discretion on a small number of non-Welsh players and he believed Colin Charvis was one of those.

Former Wales international Mike Hall was critical of the handling of the whole eligibility issue.

"The WRU is run by amateurs, well-meaning as they are," he said.

"These things should have been checked out. The IRB is taking the union's word as to eligibility of players.

"It is difficult to point the finger at anybody, but these things now have to be cleared up."

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See also:

28 Feb 00 | Rugby Union
Charvis earns Twickenham recall
30 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Taylor banking on quick recovery
21 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Sinkinson: I'm not eligible for Wales
23 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Celts face player punishment
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