ARU flexible on 'overseas sabbaticals' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU flexible on 'overseas sabbaticals'

By Adrian Warren 06/06/2008 07:35:00 PM Comments (0)

Australian rugby bosses are prepared to adopt a flexible attitude towards top players taking overseas sabbaticals rather than risk losing them to cashed-up European clubs altogether.

The issue has become a hot topic in Southern Hemisphere rugby, with All Blacks five-eighth Dan Carter linked to a short stint in France between seasons in New Zealand.

Australian Rugby Union managing director John O'Neill said he had yet to speak at length on the issue with new coach Robbie Deans, who only started his new position as Wallabies mentor earlier this week.

However, he noted there had been a precedent with former Brumbies back Joe Roff permitted to spend a season with French club Biarritz before resuming his Australian commitments.

"He (Roff) came back and continued his career refreshed and played outstanding rugby, I think it's a case-by-case circumstance," O'Neill said.

"We are conscious the English and French clubs are capable of paying a lot of money and, in some cases, well beyond our affordability, so I think we will be flexible.

"I haven't had a long discussion with Robbie about this. I think we can look to be flexible if a player genuinely would like a break.

"We've got to be careful about the use of the word sabbatical, I suppose.

"But if the choice is between losing a player forever and perhaps simply giving a player a taste of Europe and the UK for a season and a commitment to come back, well, we wouldn't exclude that."

Deans said it was common sense to give the idea consideration as rugby was a dynamic industry and changing all the time.

"It would be foolhardy to have an inflexible protocol that catered for the past, but not necessarily the future," Deans said.

"To that end, we are only limited by our thinking.

"We've got to make sure that we act in the best interest of the game here and the people here."

Deans described his first week as Wallabies coach as "great".

"It's been good to just get on with it, really," Deans said.

"As rugby people, we don't like sitting around much, we are doers, and it's just been good to get straight into the saddle.

"It would have been very difficult if I would have had to have waited six months before getting started."

Deans offered no clues about the composition of his team for the first Test under his stewardship against Ireland in Melbourne on June 14.

He revealed a dry sense of humour when skipper and centre Stirling Mortlock said he wouldn't mind "being an insider to Robbie's thoughts (on next week's team)".

Quick as a flash, Deans replied: "I don't know myself, yet".

Asked about his first match in charge against Ireland on June 14, Deans seemed more concerned about the performance than marking the start of his tenure with a victory.

"A good performance is critical and if that means victory, then, that's great," Deans said.

The New Zealand-born coach said he was concentrating on the Wallabies at the moment and would turn his attention to Ireland next week.

He said he was in the process of working on a disciplinary policy, but wouldn't be making the document public.

"But you can rest assured, the bar will be set high," Deans said.

He said he hadn't even thought about whether there were any differences between Australian and New Zealand players and it didn't concern him.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news