Rugby AU considering overhaul of Giteau Law

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 has confirmed.

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.

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.

Australia lost the Bledisloe Cup for the 19th straight year after they were beaten 57-22 by New Zealand on Saturday.

RA last year expanded the Giteau Law to allow coach Dave Rennie to include two players who did not meet the 60-Test threshold in Wallabies squads for the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations. It was adjusted amid the border controls amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Rennie did not utilise the tweak for the six Tests Australia played in 2020.

Rennie has however recently added both Duncan Paia’aua and Samu Kerevi to his Wallabies squad under the amendment, the latter after his stint with Australia’s sevens team in the Tokyo Olympics, while veteran Quade Cooper also linked up with the squad as cover for the injured James O’Connor.

Paia’aua and Cooper were both in New Zealand but did not feature for the Wallabies in either of the first two Bledisloe Cup encounters, while Kerevi will link with the squad in Perth. He is expected to come into calculations for selection as early as the final Bledisloe Cup game on Aug. 28.

Further adjusting the Giteau Law or abolishing it completely could create a situation where the likes of Will Skelton, Rory Arnold, Kurtley Beale, Sean McMahon and Tolu Latu would instantly again become available for national selection.