Rugby Australia won’t be making any unprecedented concessions for lock Will Skelton to be eligible for World Cup duty, CEO Raelene Castle says.
Currently “Giteau’s Law” specifies that an ocerseas-based player could be selected for the Wallabies if they have played 60 Tests and a minimum of seven consecutive years in Australian rugby.
If they do not meet those benchmarks, a player who has committed to an Australian Super Rugby club for the next two season.
There were suggestions that a more creative arrangement might be carved out for Skelton, that could have seen him play for the Wallabies and not in Super Rugby until 2022.
Castle all but ruled out that option when asked about Skelton on Monday, but admitted Skelton’s manager had reached out about potentially returning home.
“The Giteau Law is something that an enormous amount of time and effort was put into the thought, despite what people might think,” she said.
“There was an enormous amount of thought of the implications, why the number was 60, how the rule’s implemented in a sensible pragmatic way and from our perspective, there’d be no intention to move away from that in relation to Will Skelton.
“His management has been in touch with our footy guys about his desire to want to come back and play for Australia but like all international players there’s some rules around and we have to make sure we apply those rules with a level of consistency.”
Skelton reportedly agreed to stay at UK club Saracens, with whom he recently won the Champions Cup and Premiership title, but director of rugby Mark McCall said last week that he was resigned to losing the second rower for the World Cup.
When asked about Skelton last week, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he believed the lock was still committed to Saracens, while the Rebels said late last week that they had not had any contact about the second rower despite reports that he was on the verge of inking a deal with the Melbourne franchise.
Exeter halfback Nic White is one overseas-based player who has a slightly unconventional arrangement, making him eligible for the Rugby World Cup.
White has already signed a deal with Australian rugby for 2020 but is yet to ink a contract with any Super Rugby franchise for next season.
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