Australia may ease ‘Giteau Law’ criteria to widen player pool

Restrictions mean All Blacks might not return home for three months after Bledisloe Cup victory

Australia suffered a 19th consecutive Bledisloe Cup series defeat  in Auckland on Saturday. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

Australia suffered a 19th consecutive Bledisloe Cup series defeat in Auckland on Saturday. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

 

Rugby Australia will look into its “Giteau Law” criteria to expand its eligibility laws and broaden its pool of players for Wallabies selection, chief executive Andy Marinos said.

The Giteau Law allows players not attached to Australian Super Rugby teams to be eligible for Wallabies selection if they have played in more than 60 Tests and spent seven seasons in Australia. The rule was implemented in 2015 and given its name because it was largely seen as a way of bringing outhalf Matt Giteau back into the side for that year’s Rugby World Cup.

Former Australia outhalf/centre Matt Giteau. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Former Australia outhalf/centre Matt Giteau. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Australia places limits on the eligibility of overseas-based players to represent the country to encourage more to stay home and support domestic rugby.

“We do need to look into eligibility,” Marinos told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday. “I’m not saying it’s going to be alpha and omega. But it will certainly bring a lot more experience and a lot more depth across the board.

“When you look at the pool of talent from which we are selecting in comparison to our biggest rivals; be it New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, England – they have access and the ability to choose their very best players no matter where they’re playing.”

Pundits have urged Rugby Australia to do away with the curbs, saying they have done little to prevent a player drain to more lucrative overseas markets while weakening the Wallabies’ playing stocks.

New Zealand’s Ardie Savea makes a break during the second Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park in Auckland. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images
New Zealand’s Ardie Savea makes a break during the second Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park in Auckland. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

Australia lost the Bledisloe Cup for the 19th straight year after they were beaten on Saturday.

New Zealand ran up a record points tally for the fixture in the emphatic 57-22 victory, scoring five tries in the second half.

Any question marks over the 2021 vintage All Blacks were washed away in the Auckland rain as New Zealand ran rampant against an improving but still callow Australia side.

“We wanted to respond,”All Blacks coach Ian Foster said after the match. “The reason we had to respond is we knew the Aussies would lift. They played a combative, physical game in that first 40 and you could see they wanted to take us on up front.

“It was a good old ding-dong Test match in that first period. But we stuck to our plan, even when we lost a couple of things early. We didn’t panic, or go away from what we wanted to do.

“What was exciting was when we got the opportunity, particularly with the ball, the group were quite lethal at latching into the space in front of them.”

Foster’s side will face the Wallabies again in Perth on August 28th in a Rugby Championship Test moved back by a week because of the uncertainty created by several outbreaks of Covid-19 around Australia.

Thereafter, the All Blacks are scheduled to play Argentina twice at as yet undetermined venues in Australia before returning home to host the world champion Springboks in late September.

New Zealand players celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup after their victory over Australia at Eden Park. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images
New Zealand players celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup after their victory over Australia at Eden Park. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

The suspension of the travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia means the South Africa Test is now also likely to be played in Australia, leaving the All Blacks uncertain when they will return home again.

Foster said a meeting was held last weekend where the players were able to ask questions about the prospect of being away from New Zealand for as long as three months.

“What we do know is we’re hopping on a plane and we’re playing at least until after the Argentinians, probably until after the South Africans,” he said.

“And then we don’t know what the quarantine situation is like, so we’ll make that decision when we’re over there.”

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