Foreign players to begin to be phased out of Super Rugby sides by Rugby Australia
Rugby Australia To Phase Out Foreigners from Super Rugby Teams
After the axing of the Western Force from Super Rugby, Rugby Australia are looking to limit the influence of foreign players on the four Super Rugby sides that still remain – the Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels, Reds, and Waratahs.
After the tournament expanded in 2006 and 2011, Australian sides looked to foreign players to fill the void and be competitive, however the reduction back to four sides has changed Rugby Australia’s thinking.
Chief among them is keeping Wallaby eligible players, and relying on foreign players less.
Ben Whitaker, Rugby Australia’s high-performance manager said: “Going to four teams means we will work on the foreign talent eligibility because we feel that there’s limited (contracts available).
“We don’t think that there’s as much need to bring in talent (from overseas) that can play and potentially influence whether you win Super or not because we can back our talent in four teams to do that.”
The governing body will not rule out foreign players entirely, which will mean players Amanaki Mafi will breathe a sigh of relief, but the policy will put more preference on Australian players, or players who would be willing to become eligible to play for Australia.
Two such examples are Tonga-born Taniela Tupou, and Fijian Isi Naisarani who are part of Michael Cheika’s plans for the World Cup.
Additionally, the Top 14 will use the same kind of tactic, with French Rugby Federation President Bernard Laporte looking to limit the foreign influence in Top 14 sides.
Per Fox Sports: “Incredibly, 257 of 596 players in the Top 14 (43.12 per cent) are foreigners and clubs are currently only required to have 14 locals in their match day squads.
“That number will rise to 15 next year and 16 in 2020 with Laporte eventually wanting to cut the number of foreigners in match day squads to just five.”
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Time will tell if these measures will have any noticeable effect on Australian and French rugby.
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