Melbourne - The Melbourne Rebels and the Australian Rugby Union are at
loggerheads as to who the Super Rugby franchise can recruit to ease its
The ARU has told the Rebels they must look to local ranks
to solve their problems at tight-head prop, but the Rebels in turn have
refused to rule out recruiting a foreign player and have invited New
Zealander Arden David-Perrot to trial for a short-term contract.
The Rebels had planned to choose between David-Perrot, who plays for
Wellington in the New Zealand competition, and young Western Australian
Oliver Hoskins, who is an Australian under-20s training squad member,
after today's training session.
But the ARU has signalled it would not approve David-Perrot's
selection, with ARU high-performance general manager David Nucifora
saying there were clear regulations on foreign players, to protect and
develop Australian talent.
The Rebels have been forced to scour rugby ranks for
tight-head props after Laurie Weeks suffered a dislocated shoulder
during the 34-23 win over the Blues last Thursday. Former Wallaby Rodney
Blake can play both sides of the scrum and will start against the
Brumbies on Saturday but the problems for the Rebels would start if
Blake got injured.
The Rebels third tighthead prop, emerging talent Paul
Alo-Emile, has been sidelined with an ankle injury since the first
pre-season trial. Without a recognised tight-head prop, the Rebels could
be forced into uncontested scrums against the Brumbies.
Rebels CEO Steve Boland denied ARU rules stipulated the
replacement must be from Australian ranks. ''If they can send me a copy
of where it says that I'll greatly appreciate it,'' Boland said.
''We're having ongoing discussions about the eligibility
of the players in this circumstance because the regulations are not
clear … we had a conversation with the ARU over the weekend and we had
another [yesterday]Tuesday. Those discussions are not over.''
Nucifora said the Australian governing body's stance had
been made clear to Boland. ''I'm not quite sure what's caused the
confusion,'' Nucifora said. ''If we opened up the playing ranks without a
tight set of protocals, then Australian rugby is potentially in a lot
of trouble in a very short period of time.
''We have to be developing our own Australian eligible players to become Wallabies, so rules are there for a very good reason.''