22 Apr 2015

Wallabies to select overseas players

7:24 pm on 22 April 2015

The Australian Rugby Union has announced changes to its player contracting policy by allowing an elite group of overseas-based players to be eligible for Wallabies selection.

Wallabies celebrate. International Rugby Union, Australia v France, Sydney, Australia. .Saturday 21 June 2014

Wallabies celebrate. International Rugby Union, Australia v France, Sydney, Australia. .Saturday 21 June 2014 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Effective immediately, overseas-based players will now be eligible for the Wallabies if they have played more than 60 Tests for Australia and have held a professional contract with Australian Rugby for at least seven years.

The adjustment to the policy was approved by the ARU Board and endorsed by Super Rugby chief executives in Australia.

The Australian Rugby Union chief execuitve Bill Pulver said the policy amendment was an important strategic decision made in the best interests of the code.

"This is a pivotal moment for Rugby in Australia, where for the first time in its professional history, the ARU will allow overseas-based players who have made a significant contribution to Australian Rugby to become eligible for the Wallabies," Mr Pulver said.

"It's a decision that recognises the changing dynamics of a global Rugby market for professional players."

Mr Pulver said the policy would provide short and long-term benefits to Australian Rugby and its players.

"Those players who satisfy the 60-game and seven-year threshold have already invested heavily and contributed considerably to Australian Rugby over a long period of time," he said.

"The policy also encourages those players who have not yet reached that point to commit exclusively to Australian Rugby in the prime of their career.

"In this way, we believe the policy supports Super Rugby by encouraging our top players to remain in Australia for longer."

"It also means we can invest more money into our younger players, while ensuring our most experienced players leaving for overseas can still contribute to the overall success of the code in Australia."

The Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said greater competition for positions would inevitably lead to a stronger national team.

"It's important to first and foremost recognise those players who are currently making a daily contribution to Rugby in Australia, but at the same time not discount those elite-level and experienced Test players who have already invested so much into the code over a long period," Cheika said.

"From speaking with many of them, I know they still have a huge desire to represent Australia, and would do so to the very best of their abilities if ever called upon once again.

"In the end, we want the best players being rewarded for playing the majority of their career in Australia, and this is an important step to the future growth and success of the Wallabies."

The new policy follows a slew of Wallabies announcing they've signed with overseas clubs following the World Cup.

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