Wallabies-eligible England international moves back to Australia

Nic Dolly – Wallabies-eligible England international moves back to Australia

Nic Dolly, the recent England international who is leaving Leicester Tigers at the end of the season, has signed for the Western Force and will be eligible to play for the Wallabies this year.

Dolly, 24, will be available for selection in November having won his only England cap against South Africa back in the 2021 autumn Tests. The Western Force announced his signature on Friday with the Force’s general manager, Matt Hodgson, commenting: “We’re rapt to complete a deal to bring Nic back home to Australia.”

Dolly will be able to switch countries having completed a three-year standdown period between internationals and given he qualifies on ancestry grounds. He would not however be eligible for Australia’s game against England at Twickenham later this year, given that takes place on November 9 and Dolly’s last England cap was on November 20, 2021.

Born in Sydney, Dolly qualified to play for England through his mother and moved to England as a teenager to join Sale’s Under-18s, before ending up at Leicester after stints in the Championship with Rotherham, Jersey and Coventry. He also played for England U20s.

Had it not been for a major knee injury which kept him out for 11 months then he would no doubt have featured in Leicester’s Premiership final win over Saracens back in 2022. He was last called up to an England training squad shortly before the “horrific” injury against Newcastle, as it was described at the time, having also been an unused replacement in the 2022 Six Nations finale against France.

Guy Porter, Dolly’s Leicester team-mate, has also been linked with a move to Australia following his release by Leicester, potentially joining Dolly at the Force where former Leicester players Harry Potter and Sam Carter are currently based.

Porter however will not be eligible to play for the Wallabies. Born in London, he moved with his family to Australia at the age of seven, growing up in Australia’s rugby system and playing for Sydney University before joining Leicester. Despite his long residency period in Australia, players are not able to switch unions unless a parent or grandparent has been born in that new country, which Porter does not appear to have.

The last of his five England caps came during the first Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture against Wales last summer, when he started at inside centre. He was a key part of Leicester’s Premiership title win two years ago and went on to start two Tests on England’s tour of Australia that summer, before Japan and New Zealand later that year.

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