Paris - Players hoping to switch national allegiance in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup suffered a major blow on Thursday when the game's rulers tightened up the rules.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) will now demand that players wishing to turn out for another country will have to play in at least four rounds of the eight-event World Sevens Series which starts in October.
Or they must compete in at least half of the Olympic qualifying programme and turn out at the 2016 Rio Games where rugby sevens is making its debut.
The new rules also state that players who fail in their application to switch allegiance will be barred from reverting to their original team.
Thursday's changes will almost certainly end the hopes of the likes of England's Steffon Armitage, New Zealander Alex Tulou and Australian duo Brock James and Blair Connor of featuring for the French team at next year's World Cup.
Furthermore, French Top 14 sides would be unlikely to allow their foreign recruits to skip club duty in order to play sevens at various global venues.