June 22, 2020 / 2:35 AM / 18 days ago

Wallabies coach Rennie cautious about scrapping 'Giteau Law'

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is cautious about scrapping Australia’s ‘Giteau Law’, which limits selection of overseas-based players to those with 60 test caps or more, fearing it may lead to an exodus of talent and harm the domestic game.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - European Champions Cup - Pool 2 - Sale Sharks v Glasgow Warriors - AJ Bell Stadium, Salford, Britain - January 18, 2020. Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie. Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

Media pundits have been calling on Australia to shelve the restriction after South Africa ditched a similar policy and went on to win World Cup in Japan with a squad laden with foreign-based players.

Rennie, however, said the priority should remain on rewarding home-based players.

“My feeling is that the ideal scenarios are that we’re picking from within,” he told reporters by video call on Monday.

“If we do like South Africa did at the World Cup and you allow all your players to go overseas and you pick from anybody in the world, clearly you end up with a pretty good side in a World Cup year.

“But it’s going to encourage a lot of players to leave and chase the big money, knowing that they can still play for their country, which I think will have a detrimental effect on the quality of our Super Rugby and the development of players within that.”

However, Australia could look at extending eligibility to players based in New Zealand or Japan, he added, so long as they were playing in teams that faced Australian sides in whatever version of Super Rugby emerges post-COVID-19.

Super Rugby was abandoned last month after being suspended in March and there is uncertainty whether it will resume next year due to the pandemic.

“My view is if we had a Wallaby playing for the (Auckland) Blues for example, we get to see him playing against the best Aussies,” said Rennie.

“From a selection point of view that makes sense that you’d be able to do that.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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