New Zealand rugby bosses say they will not emulate the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and change eligibility rules and allow overseas-based players to play for the All Blacks
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The ARU announced on Wednesday after a many of its top players chose to take up lucrative overseas deals following the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand faces a similar exodus of players following the September-October tournament, but New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Steve Tew told Radio Sport only locally-based players should be allowed to pull on the All Blacks jersey.
“The core policy is ‘if you’re not here, you don’t play for us’ and we think that’s been a very important part of our player-retention strategy,” Tew is quoted as saying by AFP.
“There’s no immediate thought of changing that.”
In recent times, New Zealand players have been allowed to take a sabbatical to take up lucrative overseas deals.
Despite saying only New Zealand-based players could represent the All Blacks for the time being, Tew says the NZR would be “foolish” not to think about changing its policy if circumstances changed.
“We’re constantly reviewing what we’re doing and if circumstances changed then we’d be foolish not to think about it,” he said.
“But right now, our policy’s our policy and that’s the end of it.”
In a massive policy change, it was yesterday 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.”