Rugby Australia to follow Boks and scrap 'Giteau's Law'
NEWS: Rugby Australia is considering loosening its rules barring most overseas-based players from representing the Wallabies after their latest thrashing by New Zealand, officials said Sunday.
Under the so-called “Giteau’s Law”, introduced in 2015, foreign-based players can only pull on the Australia jersey if they have at least 60 Test caps and have played a minimum of seven seasons at home in Super Rugby.
But with an increasing number accepting lucrative contracts in Europe, coupled with Japanese clubs emerging as a financial powerhouse, the talent exodus is getting worse.
That has hamstrung Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, whose inexperienced team have fallen to the All Blacks twice this month, first by 25-33 than by a record 22-57.
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Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said it was time to re-examine the eligibility criteria to align with other countries such as South Africa.
“They have access and the ability to choose their very best players no matter where they’re playing,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We do need to look into eligibility. I’m not saying it’s going to be alpha and omega. But it will certainly bring a lot more experience and a lot more depth across the board.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 15, 2021
South Africa opted to scrap their 30- Test cap in 2018 when Rassie Erasmus took over the role as Springboks head coach.
The 30-cap criteria was introduced at the start of 2017 during former Springboks coach Allister Coetzee’s tenure. The policy was an attempt to stem a growing number of players leaving South Africa to sign more lucrative contracts at clubs in Europe and Japan.
However, Erasmus managed to convince SA rugby to scrap the rule and have been reaping the rewards.
The Springboks, under the guidance of Erasmus, heavily relied on their overseas-based players like Chesline Kolbe, Eben Etzebeth and Willie Le Roux during their successful 2019 World Cup campaign and the Rugby Championship season.
“I’m not saying what worked in South Africa is the recipe for here. But we have to look at the eligibility piece to make sure we have the best players available to play week in, week out,” he said.
According to the newspaper, one option being considered would see the number of Tests required to qualify cut to 15 or 20.
Another would be to allow Rennie to handpick more than the two foreign-based players he is currently allowed.
Either option could open the door to players such as Rory Arnold, Will Skelton, Tolu Latu, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon, who currently do not meet the 60-Test rule.
But any change could also prove controversial, as it would probably weaken Australia’s Super Rugby sides with more players heading overseas for better money.
“It’s not the [whole] answer. But it’s a part of a holistic view of the game and what we need to address,” said Marinos.
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 14, 2021