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22nd Apr 2015

Australia’s Rugby World Cup hopes have received a massive boost this morning

New selection policy re-opens door to departed stars

Neil Treacy

Want to see Matt Giteau at this year’s World Cup?

Well, it’s now a distinct possibility, after the Australian Rugby Union this morning announced their new selection policy, meaning some overseas players will now be considered for the Wallabies.

Until recently, all overseas players were deemed ineligible to represent the country, but they recently amended that, allowing sign contracts giving them the option to play a season in foreign leagues.

However, they’ve made further changes this morning, and will now consider players who have at least 60 test caps, and have held a professional contract in Australia for seven years.

The ruling is effective immediately, meaning the likes of Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell, both currently playing with Toulon in France, are available to head coach Michael Cheika for the World Cup.

The ARU’s CEO Bill Pulver says the move will mean that players will get the chance to experience rugby in a new environment, while ensuring they are based domestically for the peak of their careers.

“Those players who satisfy the 60-game and seven-year threshold have already invested heavily and contributed considerably to Australian Rugby over a long period of time,” he said.

“The policy also encourages those players who have not yet reached that point to commit exclusively to Australian Rugby in the prime of their career. In this way, we believe the policy supports Super Rugby by encouraging our top players to remain in Australia for longer,” he added.

Under the revised Policy, players returning to Australia from overseas who make a two-year commitment to an Australian Super Rugby Club will also be eligible to represent the Qantas Wallabies immediately upon their return.

Head coach Michael Cheika also believes the amendment will allow Australia field a stronger side going forward, with greater competition for places.

“From speaking with many of them, I know they still have a huge desire to represent Australia, and would do so to the very best of their abilities if ever called upon once again.

“In the end, we want the best players being rewarded for playing the majority of their career in Australia, and this is an important step to the future growth and success of the Wallabies.”

Currently, just Giteau, Mitchell and Lyon’s George Smith fit the new brief, however both Will Genia and Quade Cooper, who are departing the Queensland Reds are expected to reach the 60 cap threshold before leaving Super Rugby.

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