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RA chairman and CEO seemingly at odds over Giteau Law changes

By Sam Smith
Samu Kerevi of the Wallabies looks on after losing the Bledisloe Cup decider. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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While it was reported last week that Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos was in favour of expanding the Giteau Law to allow the Wallabies to pick a greater number of overseas players, chairman Hamish McLennan has doused speculation that the change could see a huge influx of foreign-based players to the test side.

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“When you look at the pool of talent from which we are selecting in comparison to our biggest rivals; be it New Zealand, be it South Africa, be it Argentina, be it England – they have access and the ability to choose their very best players no matter where they’re playing,” Marinos 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.”

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Currently, the Wallabies are able to select two players who are based overseas who have already clocked up 60 tests for the side. They are also able to bring in two additional foreign-based players, regardless of their number of caps.

In the current squad for the Rugby Championship, midfielders Duncan Paia’aua and Samu Kerevi are the two additional players, while 70-cap flyhalf Quade Cooper was also a late addition to the team but qualifies for selection under the Giteau Law.

Marinos’ comments suggested that RA could be looking to open the gates for any foreign-based players to represent the Wallabies but chairman McLennan has ruled that out.

Speaking on Stan Sports’ Rugby Heaven show, McLennan said that RA didn’t want to open the floodgates, allowing for local players to head offshore en masse.

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“We’re not heading to open slather,” he said. “We’re just looking at how we can tweak and refine the current Giteau Law as it stands.

“Eligibility is really around are there one or two players out there that we can bring in and/or see how we can improve the player squad for a World Cup tournament.

“So we’re not going to move to the South African model at all. But like all things, it’s open to debate and we’re turning over every stone at Rugby Australia and have done for the past year. So the time is now for us to look at it.”

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Of course, the current rules already allow for ‘one or two players’ to join the Wallabies – which begs the question of what exactly RA are hoping to accomplish with any changes.

McLennan affirmed that the impact on Super Rugby would be seriously considered before any adjustments to the eligibility rules were made.

“We do think that at some point in the next couple of weeks we’ll get that tournament finalised so we want to have a good local culture and stop our teams losing great players overseas en masse.

“I mean I’m a free marketeer by trade and if people do want to go overseas, whether it be to France or Japan or UK then so be it. But I think for us and our model and what we’re trying to achieve, we want to keep as many of the good players here locally playing in Super Rugby… If you look at the local competition in South Africa it’s been decimated so we don’t want to move to that model whatsoever.”

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RA chairman and CEO seemingly at odds over Giteau Law changes

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