Tyson Frizell: How the Wales international could play for Australia in Four Nations

Tyson Frizell
Tyson Frizell made five appearances for Wales between 2011 and 2013

Tyson Frizell is on the verge of being called up for the Australia squad for this autumn's Four Nations but he has made five appearances for Wales.

The St George Illawarra second row even played in the 2011 Four Nations and 2013 World Cup for Wales, but now the half-Welsh, half-Tongan forward seems destined to play for the Kangaroos.

How did this happen? BBC Wales Sport looked for some answers.

The Wales connection

Born in Wollongong, Australia, the 24-year-old qualifies to play for Wales through his father who was born in Swansea.

Despite playing league when he grew up, Frizell crossed codes at 16 to play union and toured Europe with the Australian Schoolboys team.

During the tour, he received offers from National Rugby League (NRL) side Cronulla Sharks and Super Rugby union side the New South Wales Waratahs.

Tyson Frizell
Between 2011 and 2013, Tyson Frizell made 12 senior competitive appearances for Cronulla Sharks

Frizell opted to return to rugby league and made his debut in the NRL in Cronulla's 16-46 defeat by Brisbane on 29 July 2011.

In the same year, he made his made his debut for Wales in their 30-6 defeat by Ireland in a friendly and went on to play in Wales' defeats by England and New Zealand in the 2011 Four Nations.

In 2015, Frizell received a call-up from Tonga, who he qualifies for through his mother, but reaffirmed his commitment to Wales.

He was left out of the Wales squad for the 2017 World Cup Qualifiers with Serbia and Italy in October, after telling coaching staff he was unavailable for selection.

A possible Australia call-up

Tyson Frizell
Since joining St George Illawarra in 2013, Tyson Frizell has made 81 appearances for the club

Earlier in 2016, Frizell became the first Wales international to play in Australia's State of Origin competition, widely regarded as the highest level of rugby league in the world.

He was also awarded the People's Choice Award following a fine spell in games two and three of the State of Origin, which echoed his impressive club form for St George in the NRL this season.

Frizell has signed a three-year contract extension that will see him remain at St George until at least the end of 2020.

To cap off an impressive year for the second row, Frizell scored a try for the Australian Prime Minister's XIII in their 58-0 victory over Papua New Guinea on 24 September.

That match is seen as a trial game ahead of the Four Nations.

How are players allowed to switch nationalities?

Jarryd Hayne
Jarryd Hayne notably had an unsuccessful spell playing for NFL franchise San Francisco 49ers

If Frizell plays for Australia in the Four Nations tournament this year, he will not be the first rugby league player to play for two nations in his career.

Jarryd Hayne has played for both Fiji and Australia while Aidan Guerra played for Italy as well as Australia.

This is possible because as well as playing for a nation by birth or family, players can switch from a 'tier two' nation - in the case of Wales - to play for a 'tier one' nation if eligible.

2016 Four Nations fixtures
28 October: Australia v Scotland
29 October: England v New Zealand
5 November: England v Scotland, New Zealand v Australia
11 November: New Zealand v Scotland
13 November: England v Australia

Frizell has made five appearances for Wales but can play for Australia as they are one of the big three 'tier one' nations, along with England and New Zealand.

As Wales are a 'tier two' nation, which comprises of teams ranked fourth to 10th in the world, Frizell is free to switch and play for Australia.

The governing body, the Rugby League International Federation, forbids players from switching between tier one nations, however.

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