Rebels coach bans 'cash before culture' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rebels coach bans 'cash before culture'

By Melissa Woods 03/02/2010 07:01:31 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Rebels coach Rod Macqueen doesn't want mercenaries, creating unique player contracts at the new Super Rugby franchise to ensure recruits don't put cash before culture.

Not only will players commit to the Melbourne-based pro rugby franchise, they must also formally commit to the local community through links with a school, a charity, a business and a rugby club.

"One of the things we are talking to all of the players about is the importance of the culture within the Rebels side, giving back to the community is very much a part of that," Macqueen said.

"There will be four obligations in their contract, one to a school, a club side in Melbourne, the other is to a business and the other is to a charity of their choice."

He said feedback from prospective Rebels had been "very positive".

"I think it's something that the players actually want."

Macqueen said he wasn't aware of any other rugby organisations with such clauses in their contracts.

The former World Cup-winning Wallabies mentor Macqueen was lured out of a near-decade long retirement to take on the role as head coach of the Rebels, who join the expanded competition from 2011.

"I'm a great believer in the balance in life, I believe people are able to perform to the best of their ability by having a balance and I think this is a step toward that."

Meanwhile, Rebels assistant coach Damien Hill and consultant, former Wallabies coach John Connolly, have found a European recruitment tour tough going, suggesting most of their ranks will have to come from somewhat closer to home.

General manager of operations Greg Harris said the Rebels were under pressure time-wise and financially in their bid to attract players from the northern hemisphere.

"We had a debrief with (Hill and Connolly) after they got back about what the market is there and what players might be available.

"We've found the timing of all this has been very difficult because the players over there are currently being pressured to finalise their arrangements for next season because it's near the end of their season.

"We've got a very small window to be able to try and secure any players we're looking at."

The Australian Rugby Union granted the Rebels a recruitment concession of 10 foreign players however Harris said established players were part of a "very expensive market".

"Realistically most of the players look at moving from here to the northern hemisphere because of the financial opportunities."

Harris said while players were interested in playing for the Rebels, the challenge was getting them to move "half the way across the world for half the money".

The other factor is the looming 2011 World Cup, with any European player harbouring a desire to play for their country unlikely to shift to Australia and away from the eye of the national coach.

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