German Rugby to explore all options as Toby Flood mulls switch

Toby Flood is weighing up playing for Germany to represent the birth country of his grandfather. David Rogers/Getty Images

The German Rugby Federation (DRV) will explore the possibility of having former England fly-half Toby Flood play for their national side ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The 32-year-old -- who has returned to boyhood club Newcastle ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season -- told The Times he is interested in connecting with the birth country of his grandfather.

The DRV were aware of Flood's family link to Germany but were unsure of how eligibility rules had changed since the inclusion of Sevens as an Olympic sport.

Under World Rugby's new regulations, a player who has represented one country but holds the nationality of another can qualify for that nation by playing at an Olympic event. The player must stand down from their first country for at least three years, a period Flood -- whose last England cap came against New Zealand in 2013 -- has fulfilled.

Once someone has represented their new country at an Olympic event they are tied to that Union in all forms of the game. Flood, who applied for a German passport after Brexit last year, could theoretically switch allegiance with an appearance for Germany in the Tokyo Games qualifiers in 2019.

"It would be awesome to have him," Germany's national coach Kobus Potgieter told ESPN. "Unfortunately time is not really on his side, to play Sevens at that age I think will be tough but it would be amazing to have a guy of that experience who is able to play for Germany.

"Not just the visibility and people getting to notice more about German rugby, but working with the players and giving his experience down to those players would be amazing if something like that could happen.

"We will have a chat and see what is possible, obviously need to talk to the Union in regard to the Sevens and seeing if that is going to be an option.

"The Sevens team is a decent side, training full time and doing a lot of fitness so I think it will take a lot of effort to join those boys but it is definitely something that we will look into.

"We will try and make it possible in whichever way we can."

Should it not work out from a playing perspective, Potgieter would welcome Flood as a coaching consultant.

One of Flood's former England teammates has recently linked up with the German set up.

"We just recently started working with former England lock Mouritz Botha who retired from rugby recently," Potgieter said.

"He's come in and is helping us a bit with our lineout and defence on a consulting basis.

"If Toby isn't able to qualify to play it would be great to get him in to our system. We always value guys that have a real interest in German rugby to come in and help us and that is one of the reasons we have improved in the last few years."

If everything falls into place, Flood could play in his third World Cup in Japan.

One of the big stumbling blocks however is out of his control.

Germany face a tall order to qualify for the tournament, and would need a string of results to go their way in the final round of games against Romania, Belgium, Spain and Russia.

"We still have a lot of work to do to," Potgieter said.

"We are starting our preseason programme now, we have a training game in France next week ahead of our November Tests against USA, South Korea and Brazil which is our preparation for the last of our World Cup qualifiers.

"Sometimes this game throws funny things at us but it is all possible."