Rugby Australia has announced a short-term change to the Giteau Law that will apply only during this year following the pandemic coronavirus.
The existing law that came in 2015 will allow Australian players with 60 or more Test caps plying their trade overseas to be eligible for national selection. However, the amendment in the law will allow new head coach Dave Rennie pick two players from overseas clubs to be part of the squad as he names the squad for the Rugby Championship on Sunday.
Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu all playing in France will be in contention to fill up the spots with Izack Rodda and Samu Kerevi also could be options for Rennie.
The Giteau Law requires overseas clubs to release players under World Rugby’s Regulation 9 with the Rugby Championship provisionally scheduled in November and December falling inside the international window but the additional two Bledisloe Cup Tests could fall outside it.
“We are being quite clear that this addition is for this year only but that we will continue to review the entire policy from time to time, as required,” said Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke said.
“This is a prudent and measured step in response to the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Australian rugby and the broader rugby community.
“Dave (Rennie) will soon assemble his squad and they’re likely to remain in a ‘bubble’ for ten weeks with no opportunity to call in replacements for injury due to the quarantined environment. It will be a real test for those players selected, and the Wallabies management team, but I know they are incredibly excited about the opportunity.”
Rennie feels the provision will allow Australia to strengthen the squad as they look to rebuild after a tough season due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
“First and foremost, it is crucial that we recognise those players who are currently making a daily contribution to rugby in Australia, and that will be reflected in the squad we name for this year’s Test season,” Rennie said.
“We now have the chance to select one or two players based overseas who don’t meet the current criteria and they’ll not only add some experience to our group but be able to guide our young players to help their development.