Friday’s rugby news has the ARU changing their contract stance, some tough words from Andrew Blades, Hunt heading to the Reds and the IRB changing their name.
ARU allows flexible contracts
In preperation for the predicted post-World Cup player exodus, the ARU have relaxed their international exclusion policy. A select group of top athletes will now be able to spend one season playing in lucrative Japanese or European competitions if they sign deals for three or more years.
“We’ve recognised that in the context of an increasingly global market for rugby players that we need to take a more flexible approach to player contracting,” ARU boss Bill Pulver said. Olympic Sevens representatives will also be allowed to play the 2016-17 Japanese domestic season without affecting their eligibility for the Wallabies in 2017. [/one_half]
Blades tell Wallabies to toughen up
Wallabies set-piece coach Andrew Blades has emphasised that the Test team will need to step up their physicality if they expect to compete with the Springboks. Australia will play home games on successive Saturdays against South Africa in Perth and Argentina on the Gold Coast.
Blades emphasised that the coming matches will require a committed focus on scrum and breakdown work, asserting that the passivity of the team in contact was the driving force behind the second Bledisloe blowout. “Very strong scrums, two massive sides especially in the forwards,” he said. “Two very physical sides around the breakdown and that will be the biggest challenge.” [/one_half]
Horwill has high hopes for Hunt
With the Reds expected to name the signing of Karmichael Hunt in the next few days, James Horwill has backed the former league star to succeed. Horwill was a Queensland Schoolboys teammate of Hunt, saying, “He was a talent then so I don’t think there’s anything stopping him.”
The ex-rugby league international confirmed on Thursday his four-year, 44-game AFL career with the Suns is over, playing only one game in an injury plagued 2014 season. “Genetics suggest I should be playing another code,” Hunt said. “I’m confident I’m definitely not going to a game where I’m going to have to run about 12km every Saturday.” [/one_half]
IRB undergoes name change
The IRB will become known as World Rugby, with the new name coming into effect from November 19. Brett Gosper, the IRB chief executive, said the change of name was designed to help the global governing body become more relevant to countries beyond the 15-man game’s heartland nations.
“It’s more inclusive and much easier to connect with and manage all our properties under,” Gosper said. The rebranding of the IRB will coincide with the introduction of Sevens rugby into the Olympics, making its debut at the 2016 Rio games. The new brand, including a new logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on November 17. [/one_half]