Wednesday’s Rugby News sees Skelton likely to remain in Europe, possible changes to the ‘Giteau Law’, Dan McKellar linked to Wallabies coaching role, and former Wallabies shortlisted for Rugby Australia’s board.
Skelton likely to remain in Europe
Will Skelton’s asking price of $800,000 per season has dashed Rugby Australia’s hopes of bringing the big second-rower home, according to Tom Decent.
Skelton, who currently plays for UK club Saracens, is likely to continue his career in Europe with a move to French side La Rechelle for the next two years.
Rugby Australia attempted to lure Skelton back to Australia prior to the World Cup, but he was happy to stay. With Saracens salary cap scandal Rugby Australia came calling again, but with little luck.
It is believed Skelton is on a $640,000 per year contract at Saracens, and RA offered him around $650,000 per year.
Australia’s Director of Rugby Scott Johnson confirmed last month he was in discussions with Skelton.
“We want him back if we can but we want people wanting to play for Australia,” Johnson said.
The signing of Skelton was deemed an important one for Rugby Australia after the departure of lock forwards, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, and Sam Carter in the post-World Cup exodus.
Possible changes to ‘Giteau Law’
Rugby Australia is set to review the current eligibility laws in order to ensure the Wallabies remain competitive.
Under the current rules, a player must be playing Super Rugby or have played 60 or more Tests and given seven years of service playing in Australia to be eligible for the Wallabies.
However, Rugby Australia will be looking at whether those rules should be changed to only 30 caps for the Wallabies and five years of service within Australian Rugby,
Although this may lead to a mass exodus, as seen in South Africa, this also contributed greatly to the Springboks World Cup-winning campaign with eight members, including star performers Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe, all plying their trade in foreign competitions.
Another proposal for the eligibility rules is to reduce the test-cap marker but keep the seven years of service rule.
This allows for players who have experienced a high number of injuries or have been sitting behind a quality player to still have a chance to play for the Wallabies while earning an income overseas after giving seven years to Super Rugby.
Regardless of what changes are made, Rugby Australia is still intent on rewarding players who want to play for the right reasons, and if they wish to chase the cash then they should follow it.
Dan McKellar linked to Wallabies role
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has been scouted out by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to join his coaching ranks as an assistant.
Despite McKellar being two years into a three-year deal, he said when the Wallabies call, you answer.
“The Wallabies need an assistant coach and they raised it a few weeks back and it would be an honour to be involved in the Australian setup,” McKellar said.
“Coaches are no different to players in they want to coach at the highest level and I have aspirations to do that and I’m sure it would be a great environment to work in.”
“I’m really flattered to be involved in those conversations but right now I’m focused on the Brumbies,” he said.
It is most likely that McKellar would coach both the Brumbies and the Wallabies, in a similar fashion to how his predecessor Stephen Larkham did.
Former Wallabies shortlisted for RA board
World Cup-winning Wallabies Daniel Herbert, Joe Roff, and Richard Harry are vying for the one board member position, with a decision to be made on Monday.
Herbert is believed to be the most qualified for the role, due to his roles as chief executive of strata management company SSKB and his five-year tenure as a rugby administrator during his role as Queensland Rugby Union chief commercial officer and executive general manager.
However, ACT Rugby is concerned it will be left without a friendly face on the board with deputy chairman and former Brumby Brett Robinson stepping down.
Canberra has put its support behind Joe Roff but believe he will be overlooked for either Herbett or Richard Harry.
Canberra could pull its support of David Mortimer, the lead candidate for the role of chairman-elect, if they do not see a friendly face put on the board.