Wallaby coach sees no need to relax eligibility rules

2019-03-03 07:45
Michael Cheika (Gallo Images)
Michael Cheika (Gallo Images)

Sydney - Wallabies coach Michael Cheika sees no reason to relax player eligibility rules after South Africa decided to scrap Test selection restrictions aimed at preventing top talent heading abroad.

Cheika was instrumental in bringing in Australia's so-called "Giteau's Law" in 2015, allowing players with 60 caps who had played seven Super Rugby seasons to continue to be eligible for national selection after they moved overseas.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle insisted last month it was "working well" and Cheika said it was important to keep the best young talent, who dream of playing for their country, in Super Rugby.

"The key is to have the best quality players playing their rugby in Australia, or in Super Rugby, so our young players, our youth and our club players, they all have that to aspire to," he said in a video posted on the Wallabies Facebook page on Saturday evening. 

"We have to get that tournament (Super Rugby) out there so more kids can see it."

He called the 60 caps "a nice balance".

"Because if a European team does want to take a player over 60 caps, it means they've got plenty of experience and plenty of quality, (but) they have to deal with the issue that they're going to be away playing for Australia," he said.

"There are not that many of them playing over there now, if we look, to be honest. There is really only, that is in the current selection mix, (Tatafu) Polota-Nau."

Prior to 2015, Australia only selected players who had contracts with their own Super Rugby clubs. The 60-cap rule was originally introduced to allow Matt Giteau to rejoin the Wallabies for the 2015 World Cup.

World champions New Zealand still have the same policy, although Kiwi administrators admit it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain top players in the face of big-money offers from clubs in Europe and Japan.

The Springboks last month dumped a rule that barred overseas-based players from the national team unless they had previously earned 30 Test caps.

Read more on:    wallabies  |  michael cheika  |  rugby


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