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Shingler eligibility doubts emerge

Steven Shingler's eligibility for Scotland has been called into doubt just hours after the London Irish back was named in head coach Andy Robinson's squad for the RBS 6 Nations.

The 20-year-old Swansea-born London Irish fly-half or centre was named as one of six uncapped players in Robinson's 36-man squad as preparations for the February 4 Calcutta Cup clash with England at Murrayfield began in earnest. Robinson believes Shingler qualifies as a result of his Dumfries-born mother.

However, Shingler played at full-back for Wales Under-20s against France Under-20s in the 2011 Six Nations, when both nations declared the age-group squads as their second XVs, effectively handcuffing the players involved to those nations.

A statement from the Welsh Rugby Union read: "The WRU complies with IRB (International Rugby Board) regulations and guidelines regarding the status of potentially Wales qualified players who are selected at elite pathway representative level.

"The Wales U20 team is currently the WRU nominated side for qualification which means that players who represent Wales at this level in certain games are then solely qualified for Welsh senior honours.

"All Welsh players who represent Wales at U20 level against nations which also designate their U20 teams as their qualification sides are informed that they will then be registered as liable for Wales selection only at senior level.

"All the U20 players who represented Wales against France at U20 level in 2011 were informed that they would then become Wales qualified players only at senior level."

The Scottish Rugby Union responded in a statement, which read: "Steven has confirmed to Scottish Rugby that he declined to sign a declaration from the WRU that he was committed solely to representing Wales at senior level.

"Steven has informed us that he made it clear that he wished to leave open his international eligibility as he was also eligible to represent Scotland and England as well as Wales.

"Scottish Rugby believes we have acted in good faith in this matter and have also taken cognisance of an IRB ruling last year concerning two players who played for Wales under-20 against France under-20 in 2010 who now play for Connacht and are eligible for Ireland. We are liaising with the IRB on this matter."

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