Andy Marinos believes the Wallabies should follow the Springboks by canning a rule that limits foreign-based players from representing Australia.
Under Rugby Australia’s so-called “Giteau’s Law”, introduced in 2015, foreign-based players can only pull on the Wallabies jersey if they have at least 60 Test caps and have played a minimum of seven seasons at home in Super Rugby.
But with an increasing number accepting lucrative contracts in Europe, coupled with Japanese clubs emerging as a financial powerhouse, the talent exodus is getting worse.
That has hamstrung Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, whose inexperienced team have fallen to the All Blacks twice this month, first by 33-25 then by a record 57-22.
Marinos, formerly the acting managing director of SA Rugby and now CEO of Rugby Australia, said it was time to re-examine the eligibility criteria to bring them more in line with other countries such as South Africa.
“They have access and the ability to choose their very best players no matter where they’re playing,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We do need to look into eligibility. 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.”
Marinos was employed by SA Rugby when, in response to the Springboks’ nose-diving results, they made the decision to scrap their overseas-based player rules and the world-champion Springboks have since reaped the rewards.
“I’m not saying what worked in South Africa is the recipe for here. But we have to look at the eligibility piece to make sure we have the best players available to play week in, week out,” added Marinos.
One option being considered, according to the newspaper, would see the number of Tests required to qualify cut to 15 or 20.
Another would be to allow Rennie to handpick more than the two foreign-based players he is currently allowed.
Either option could open the door to players such as Rory Arnold, Will Skelton, Tolu Latu, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon, who currently do not meet the 60-Test rule.
But any change could also prove controversial, as it would probably weaken Australia’s Super Rugby sides with more players heading overseas for better money.
“It’s not the (whole) answer. But it’s a part of a holistic view of the game and what we need to address,” said Marinos.