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'It's only a rule until two blokes decide it's not a rule... Just cut the cord'

By Chris Jones
Matt Toomua (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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Japan bound Matt Toomua is calling on Australian rugby chiefs to scrap the “murky” Giteau Law restrictions on the number of overseas based players who can be picked by Dave Rennie, the Wallabies head coach.

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Currently, Rennie has just three picks per series, but the head coach has made it clear he would favour a change to give the Wallabies the widest possible range to select for the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

Toomua, who spent time at Leicester before returning to Australia, won the last of his 59 caps in August 2021 and admits the current restrictions have affected his career planning. The current president of the Australian Rugby Union Players’ Association has agreed to join a Japanese club and told the Sydney Morning Herald: “As a player, it’s quite frustrating, I signed a contract last year on the basis that the Giteau Law was in play, so you do the depth chart, you look at it and think, ‘I’ll probably be around here’. And then the rules get changed.

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“It’s only a rule until two blokes decide it’s not a rule, so I feel like it’s dying a bit of a slow death at the moment.

“Let it go, let the costs go, some other young kid is going to shine, be the face of the game, and we’ll still have our international stars playing for Australia, and we’re not crippling ourselves by not having all of them.

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“I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I do have an opinion on it and my opinion is let it go. Just cut the cord. The worry is if you allow [all overseas-based players] to come in and let everyone play, that the domestic tournament struggles. Well, we already have struggles at the domestic [level], so at what point do you say open it up.

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“The example for me is the A-League. If you’re any good at football, you go overseas. It’s not going to be to that extent for rugby in Australia but, if it is, can you still sustain a domestic competition? The A-League would argue that you can if you promote it the right way or have some private investment, or what not.

“Maybe we relieve a bit of the cost burden [on Rugby Australia] from the international guys and let them go. It just seems so murky.

“If we are going to be running this trickle-down economics thing, let’s not restrain the Wallabies in any way, shape or form, because that’s just silly,” he said. “If we need Rory [Arnold], we need Rory. If we need Will [Skelton], we need Will. Samu [Kerevi] – why is he not playing all the time? We can’t just have them for a two-game tour. We have to have these guys.”

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