Raelene Castle, the head of rugby Australia, has said that it is high time to re-examine the “Giteau Law,’ the regulation that makes it next to impossible for an Aussie footballer to play rep football for the Wallabies after playing abroad.
In a nutshell, the regulation states that any Australian who goes oversees, cannot play rep for the Wallabies unless that player has 60 Test caps and seven years of service to Super League.
The scenario puts us in mind of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, where the U.S., tired of seeing its young college boys continuously beaten by professional players, many of whom were U.S. college and NBA players who decided that patriotism was a reason to play Olympic basketball for European and Asian countries, threw the doors open to professionals and sent the Dream Team to Spain to bring back a gold medal.
Well, the Aussies have grown weary of scrounging its thin union ranks for players to go up agasint the sides fielded by New Zealand, England, South Africa and Ireland.
Sixty caps is a lot.
It is roughly equivalent to five years of playing in every international Test. Throw in the seven years of Super Rugby experience for an Aussie player accepting a job in Europe and you suddenly have blokes that are closer to collecting retirement pensions than you are to the sort you want playing under the Australian flag.
The Giteau Law is a high-minded sounding thing, but at the same time, NRL players can take part in State of Origin as state representatives merely by saying they knew someone from Queensland or had a third cousin twice removed living temporarily in NSW.
“We have a responsibility to do it (review the regulation),” Castle said at the National Rugby Championship season launch on Tuesday.
It is hard for professional players to justify working for Super Rugby salaries when England and other European leagues offer much more.