Foreigners heading to Aussie rugby sides - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Foreigners heading to Aussie rugby sides

By David Beniuk and Adrian Warren 07/08/2008 08:02:03 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock would love to lure Dan Carter to the Brumbies, but has warned that the recruitment of international rugby stars to Australia's Super 14 sides needs to proceed with caution.

Overseas marquee players could be running out for the Brumbies, Reds, Waratahs and Force as early as next year, the Australian Rugby Union announced.

The ARU board has agreed to relax the current Super 14 ban on players ineligible for Wallabies selection and is awaiting final details of a "foreign player policy" currently being discussed with the state unions, the Rugby Union Players' Association and national coach Robbie Deans.

A final submission, which will include the proposed number of foreign players allowed by each franchise, will be presented to the board for approval on September 5.

"As long as it's in line with our development program and our talent first and foremost," Mortlock said of the plan.

"It's got to be made sure it is in context, so the end result is to improve Australian rugby and improve our product in the Super 14.

"If it's in line with that as well, looking to expand the Super series as well, they are all good initiatives and I'm all for that.

"I don't think it should be to the detriment of making sure we bring our depth of talent through, so it needs to be controlled."

Asked if he had the opportunity to bring any particular marquee players over to the Brumbies, Mortlock said: "It opens the door for a lot of great discussions because all of a sudden you can bring someone like (All Blacks') Dan Carter in at flyhalf, or a (Springbok) Victor Matfield in at lock.

"The reality of whether that would ever take place is another issue, but certainly it's got to be in context with development programs."

The move is the latest attempt to sex up the Super 14 as it heads towards a new television deal for the 2011 season.

The ARU has already announced it will allow private equity to bankroll Australian teams while governing body SANZAR last month unveiled a new six-team finals series.

RUPA boss Tony Dempsey stressed that overseas player numbers needed to be tightly controlled.

"There is some benefit to the strategic and limited introduction of foreign rugby players to the Australian Super 14 teams," he said in a statement.

"Foreign players can bring new profile, ideas and skills that would compliment Australia's existing talent pool.

"The devil is of course in the detail."

The NSW Waratahs and Western Force both confirmed they had space available on their 2009 playing rosters and would consider looking overseas to fill them.

"It certainly opens up the opportunity for us to explore a couple of positions we need to fill for next year," new Waratahs coach Chris Hickey said.

ARU chairman Peter McGrath said, historically, the recruitment of players like Argentine Patricio Noriega and South African Tiaan Strauss during the early days of the Super 12 had shown it could be successful.

"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," McGrath said in a statement."

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