Australian Rugby Union Changes Contract Rules To Avoid Star Loss

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By Dana Alyssa Ramos | August 29, 2014 12:20 PM EST

Last Thursday, the Australian Rugby Union announced changes to its contract protocols in an attempt to retain stars in Australian Rugby.

REUTERS
Kurtley Beale of Australia's Wallabies kicks a penalty goal during their Rugby Championship match against the New Zealand's All Blacks in Sydney August 16, 2014.

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The rule changes were approved by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Board last Monday that will guarantee flexible contracts for a number of players who will commit to long term deals in Australian rugby.

Under the new contracting rules, starting 2016, the ARU will offer a selected group of top players and the opportunity to play one session in a foreign domestic competition during their contract with the Australian Rugby provided that they will sign deals for three or more years.

Moreover, players who represent Australia in Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Olympics will be permitted to play the 2016-2017 Japanese domestic seasons without affecting their return in 2017 for the Qantas Wallabies.

The contract changes allow the Super Rugby provinces and ARU to reward players who are deemed to make significant contribution to Australian Rugby.

Although the offer will also apply to current seven players, it is mainly designed to keep Australia's highest-profile players like Israel Folau to commit long term to the country's rugby.

Thus, far it is still unknown how many players will be given the offer or how the new contract will work in practice, but ARU chief Bill Pulver is hopeful that it would stem the tide of the top players leaving the country.

"We're trying to be proactive to an environment where certain international rugby nations have a very strong financial capability of luring players", Pulver said according to a report on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Nationally Contracted Players -- Will be exclusively managed by ARU to make sure that the pool of players available for selection will be strong every year.

Non-Nationally Contracted Players -- Every Super Rugby team will be allowed one flexible contract each season for non-Nationally Contracted players.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Jason Reed)
Kurtley Beale of Australia's Wallabies kicks a penalty goal during their Rugby Championship match against the New Zealand's All Blacks in Sydney August 16, 2014.
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