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'It's there for a reason': Rugby Australia boss holds firm on Giteau law

By Ben Smith
Andrew Kellaway, Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper during an Australian Wallabies training camp at Sanctuary Cove on January 12, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan has confirmed that the Giteau Law will remain in place under new head coach Eddie Jones ending any speculation that the rule would be tweaked in the World Cup year.

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The current Giteau law eligibility states that a maximum of three overseas-based players can be selected if they have accrued 30 Test caps for the Wallabies or have completed five Super Rugby seasons in Australia.

The rule has been amended over the years originally setting the threshold at 60 Test caps which allowed the Wallabies to bolster their squad ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

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However, McLennan defended the law as a commitment to New Zealand Rugby to ensure that the standard of Super Rugby did not diminish and did not foresee any immediate changes.

“We’re not going to destroy the Giteau Rule at all,” McLennan told the ABC.

“It’s there for a reason. We’ve made a commitment to New Zealand and Super Rugby. We have a new competition that will go through to 2030 so we are thinking long term.

“RA have to do a better job over the long term in sorting those pathways out, but there’s some very good players out there.”

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The RA boss admitted that the governing body would like to attract more players home, with many high-profile Wallabies still plying their trade overseas.

Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley and Samu Kerevi all still play in Japan while Rory Arnold,  Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Will Skelton are based in Europe.

“We need to get more players back from overseas. [The Giteau Law] isn’t something, in a wholesale sense, we want to play with too much when we look at it for this year and beyond.

“But we’ve definitely got great players. We really believe we can give the World Cup a shake this year.”

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The RA boss indicated he felt that incoming head coach Eddie Jones would actually skew towards picking younger players, taking a ‘different’ approach to selection in order to get the team ‘firing’.

“I think you’ll see a different way of selecting the team,” McLennan said.

“He’ll give more younger guys a go, I expect, so it will be a really interesting ride to watch.

“Certainly, with coaching, you get better with age. That experienced is earnt over time and he knows how to accelerate plans and to make the right decisions.

“He’s there because he’s the world’s best rugby coach and we’ve got him.

“The very fact that he can garner more attention for the sport, we’re happy about that, but he’s there to get the Wallabies firing.”

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