Rugby: Eligibility vote opens intriguing career options for All Blacks star Ardie Savea

Ardie Savea's a proud All Black, but he'd one day love to wear a different jersey.

"I would to play for Samoa," he insists.

And a change in eligibility rules could see him soon do so.

On Wednesday night (NZ time), World Rugby will vote on whether players can switch nations after a three-year stand-down period, provided that their parents or grandparents were born in the country to which they’re intending to switch their allegiances to.

"Heart and soul, I still love the All Blacks jersey, and what it's provided to me and my family," says Savea. "But man, the heart and the soul goes back deeper. 

"My Samoan blood goes back thousands of years."

Tongan coach Toutai Kefu says the inclusion of seasoned ex-internationals like Savea would help Pacific nations avoid blowouts like this year's 100-point defeat against the All Blacks. 

"I don't think we can consistently beat those teams, but it does make us competitive," says Kefu. "It brings the score from 100 down to 20." 

The Pacific nations would also benefit financially.

"It's about having money to reinvest in the grass roots," says Pacific Rugby Players Welfare chief executive Daniel Leo. "To have a professional pathway now, you need millions and millions of pounds, so this is a short-term fix towards that."

A rule change requires a 75 percent majority to pass - a number Leo believes will be tough to reach, especially given the likes of Tonga don't have a vote.

"Only 50.002 percent was enough to get the UK out of Europe, why are we having to fight for something that's 75 percent?" he wonders.

This time Thursday, Ardie Savea - and others - may have a decision to make about their rugby allegiances.