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NZRU relax overseas restrictions

The New Zealand Rugby Union have relaxed laws governing the recruitment of overseas players by their five Super 15 sides.

The NZRU will now allow the Blues, Crusaders, Hurricanes, Highlanders and Chiefs to sign up to two foreign players each.

Part of the rule change also means players from the Pacific islands are no longer classed as foreign players.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said: "We see this as a way of developing New Zealand rugby with our commitment that Super Rugby is the best competition in the world. We want to give our fans an opportunity to see the best players in the world."

However, there are conditions attached to the changes.

For the franchises to recruit an overseas player there must be no equivalent New Zealand-eligible player available, and they will not be allowed to recruit two overseas players in the same position.

Also, there must be no more than one foreign player in a specialist position, such as fly-half or tighthead prop, across the five franchises.

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