JACK DEMPSEY could become eligible to represent Scotland next year thanks to Wednesday’s change to World Rugby’s Regulation Eight, which now allows capped players to transfer allegiance so long as they have a credible link to the country they are switching to and have stood down from international rugby for the previous three years.  

The back-row, who joined Glasgow Warriors last summer, has a Scottish grandfather, and last played for Australia in October 2019. Dempsey’s powerful performances since moving to Scotland, particularly with ball in hand, will not have gone unnoticed by national team head coach Gregor Townsend, who has shown in the past that he is more than happy to use rugby’s eligibility laws to fill gaps in his side. 

Speaking earlier this week, before the law change was announced, Dempsey admitted to having mixed emotions as he watched Scotland’s recent Autumn Test match against Australia. 

“I’ve got a foot in both camps now,” he said. “I know a lot of the players with Scotland and I’m contributing to that culture so there was a part of me thinking it was great to see Matt Fagerson running out there in the No 8 jersey. I wanted him to go well whereas in the past I wouldn’t.” 

It is only fair to re-iterate that the prospect of Dempsey one day wearing the blue jersey was not a live issue at this point, and until such time as he becomes eligible to play for Scotland, his primary focus must be club duty. 

The 27-year-old was one of the team’s stand-out performers during the first five matches of the 2021-22 campaign but insists that there is room for improvement. 

“We reviewed the first block of games extensively during the international break and there are a lot of things I need to work on personally,” he said. “From the moment I came in the door, it was about making sure I was putting my best foot forward and showing what I could do. If the weather gets worse, we might have to play a tighter game, more of a set-piece game, and that was one of the big reasons I moved here, to work on that.” 

The Warriors team to face Benetton away on Saturday afternoon will be announced at noon today. Having won three of their five matches played so far, Danny Wilson’s side are currently sixth in the United Rugby Championship table, three points off the pace for play-off qualification.