Foley re-signs with Wallabies
Sydney - Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley on Thursday signed a three-year contract extension with the Australian Rugby Union on the agreement that he be allowed to play two seasons with a Japanese club.
Under the deal, Foley, 25, is locked in with the Waratahs until the end of 2018, meaning he will be eligible to continue playing for Australia. Overseas-based players cannot represent their country.
But with the Wallabies facing an exodus after the September-October World Cup in England and the ARU desperate to retain its younger stars, he will also be allowed to play in Japan's Top League.
"I have an incredibly strong desire to continue representing Australia and the Waratahs, and this deal allows me to do that for at least another three years," Foley said.
"I'd like to thank Australian rugby and the Waratahs for understanding my desire to experience a new culture and rugby environment in Japan, while continuing to provide me an opportunity for represent my state and country."
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said flexible contracting, although limited, would be treated on a case-by-case scenario.
"Flexible contracting is taken into consideration for exceptional circumstances, and I am confident that he will put his own well-being at the front of his priorities and thinking," he said.
"Bernard is a playmaker who is still yet to reach his full potential and we need our best players eligible for Australia -- now and in the future."
A host of Wallaby stars such as Adam Ashley-Cooper, former skipper James Horwill, Will Genia and Sekope Kepu are due to leave Australia after the World Cup with others also being tempted by lucrative overseas offers, a situation also being faced by New Zealand.