Rugby Australia has announced significant change to the so-call Giteau Law on international eligibility including a reduction in the cap threshold from 60 to 30.
Coaches of the Wallabies, Wallaroos and Austrlaian Sevens teams will be able to select three players to be chosen from overseas per tournament, series, or competition. The players must have a minimum of 30 Test caps or have completed a minimum of five years’ service to Australian Rugby.
National coaches will also be able to select any Australian eligible player that currently plays overseas but has contractually committed to playing for an Australian-based franchise for the following year.
While ostensibly a loosening of the law it will actually make it tougher for Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to pick his team for this year’s internationals and the 2023 World Cup.
Because of Covid, Rennie was given virtual carte blanche over selection in 2021.
With backline stars Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper likely to be priority picks for Rennie, it would leave a battle for a third spot between players including Rory Arnold – the highest paid Wallabies player thanks to a rich new Japan contract – Will Skelton, Marika Koroibete and Sean McMahon.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement: “These amendments reflect a fit-for-purpose policy which will help our national teams compete at their best on the international stage across both the XVs and 7s games.
“The updated policy follows extensive consideration and consultation, to ensure we could find the right balance between the importance of selecting players within our domestic competition structures, while also allowing the selection of overseas players as an exception, rather than a rule and only if that player has made a significant contribution to the game in Australia.
“Rugby is a global sport and we recognise the challenging environment we operate within where we realise we cannot keep all players on our shores.
“This policy shows we will continue to prioritise the players that are playing in Australia. These will be the first group of players considered for international selection before further consideration is given to any players playing abroad. Our national coaches and high-performance teams support this approach as they feel that our continued improvement on the world stage is best achieved through the localised and aligned management of our playing groups.
“Our message is simple, if you want to put yourself in the shop window for international selection you are still best served playing at home.”
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