ARU to welcome foreigners

British and Irish players could be wearing the colours of the Western Force, Queensland Reds, ACT Brumbies or New South Wales Waratahs as early as next season thanks to a proposed rule change by the Australian Rugby Union. [more]

ARU to welcome foreigners

British and Irish players could be wearing the colours of the Western Force, Queensland Reds, ACT Brumbies or New South Wales Waratahs as early as next season thanks to a proposed rule change by the Australian Rugby Union.

As things currently stand, the four Australian sides in the Super 14 can only select players who are available for Wallaby selection.

However, that position seems set to change after the ARU agreed in principle to a new rule that will allow the Force, Reds, Brumbies and Waratahs to sign overseas stars from 2009 onwards.

"It was agreed the time is right to make this change," said ARU chairman Peter McGrath.

"We are moving towards transformation at Super Rugby level and allowing foreign players to be involved with our teams – not for the first time – is part of that evolutionary process.

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"The re-introduction of foreign players will have advantages for our teams, for our fans, and for overseas marquee or emerging players wanting to experience the best provincial competition in the world.

"It will of course be tightly controlled and managed. That is why we are still waiting on final details from management before endorsing the change."

Those final details are expected to be submitted at a board meeting on September 5, with the ARU already consulting with the Super 14 clubs themselves and Wallaby head coach Robbie Deans.

The proposed rule change appears to be the latest move to reverse the trend of southern hemisphere players leaving Super 14 rugby for substantial contracts overseas.

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