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Wallabies modify selection criteria, now similar to Springboks

BY Luke Petherick  ·  Friday Feb 25, 2022

The Wallabies played some solid rugby at times in 2021. Back-to-back wins over the World Champion South Africans was undeniably their highlight. This can be partly attributed to the inclusion of some overseas based players into the Wallabies squad. Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper, Rory Arnold and Kurtley Beale were all overseas based inclusions.

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With the Wallabies new selection criteria being outlined today, only 3 players can be selected that are based overseas. They must also have a minimum of 30 test caps or 5 years in Australian rugby. Considering a wealth of Australian talent is based in France, Japan and the UK this may cause more harm than good for the Wallabies.

South Africa changed their selection rules in 2017 to only allow overseas based players with more than 30 caps. Very similar to what the Australians now have in place. This move proved very successful for the Springboks culminating in their 2019 World Cup Victory and their current world no.1 ranking. Importantly, they did not place a limit on the amount of overseas based South Africans available for selection. In the 2019 World Cup final 6 players out of their starting 15 were playing their club rugby for teams outside South Africa.

The new rule change is aimed at protecting the strength of the Australian Super Rugby squads. However, this may ultimately come at the detriment of the Wallabies squad and its depth.

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