Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Toulon star Matt Giteau will be considered for selection for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Wallabies: ARU announces historic change allow overseas-based players to represent Australia
Bernard Foley signs new ‘flexible’ contract with Wallabies and NSW Waratahs
(Images) Ex-Rugby ace Thom Evans two-times Made in Chelsea babes
Cheika said fellow France-based players George Smith and Drew Mitchell are also on his World Cup radar after the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) changed its policy to allow overseas-based players to become eligible to play for Australia.
The Super Rugby title-winning coach said the change in policy allowed him to choose from a deeper talent pool.
“I’d be stupid (not to be). That’s the idea, is to have more players available to choose from,” Cheika is quoted as saying by AAP.
“So of course, yeah, I’m looking at them now. Once I find their phone numbers, I’m sure I’ll be in contact with them.”
George Smith retired from the Wallabies after their 2-1 series loss to the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and Cheika admits he isn’t sure the 34-year-old would be willing to return to the national setup.
“George played for me at Stade Francais,” Cheika said.
“He came on one of his little junkets out of Japan and came over and a had a little of life in France and I can tell you he was an awesome player to coach.
“Tactics .. he’s got great experience.
“But I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually seen a game of his this year. I’d be lying if I said I’d been out there looking.”
In a massive policy change, it was on Wednesday announced that players who have held a professional contract with the ARU for seven years or more and earned more than 60 Wallabies caps will be now allowed to play overseas but still be eligible to play for Australia.
ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said the move was in line with the changes occurring in the international rugby market.
“It’s a decision that recognises the changing dynamics of a global rugby market for professional players,” he said in an ARU statement.
“Combined with our other recruitment and retention strategies, we feel this decision allows the ARU to assert more influence over player movement and contracting in Australia and abroad.”