JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Players 'crazy' not to consider overseas sabbaticals

Matt Toomua could be a target for cashed-up overseas clubs.

Matt Toomua could be a target for cashed-up overseas clubs. Photo: Getty Images

Australia's best players would be "crazy" if they did not consider rich sabbatical deals overseas, ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said, and he believes the ARU's new "flexible contracts" will stop the game from going broke.

But Larkham does fear the Brumbies could suffer if too many of the club's stars negotiate temporary stints in lucrative competitions such as France or Japan.

From 2016, the ARU will allow Wallabies players to spend one season on an international "sabbatical" if they commit to the Wallabies for three or more years.

Super Rugby clubs will also be free to negotiate a deal for one player outside the Wallabies system to cash in on a contract abroad.

Wallabies greats Larkham and George Gregan, who finished their careers in Japan, said the new protocols were in the best interests of the game.

The former Test halves believe such a rule could have kept star players such as George Smith, Ben Mowen and Matt Giteau in Australian rugby.

But Larkham admitted it could come at a cost of playing personnel for Australian Super Rugby teams. The ARU will "exclusively" negotiate the deals with its top players and ensure the Wallabies are "sufficiently strong".

"Everyone will look at [a sabbatical]; they'd be crazy not to," Larkham said.

"The ARU will make a decision on how many and who. It's a way for the ARU to keep the top players ... without becoming bankrupt.

"Depending on how many go, it's slightly concerning because the pre-season for Super Rugby is so short now. Your career in rugby is finite and there's some really good money on offer overseas."

The Brumbies re-signed a host of Wallabies stars this year, including Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Scott Fardy, Joseph Tomane and Scott Sio.

The challenge will come after the World Cup next year, when cashed-up clubs in France and Japan will look to lure the best players in the world to join their teams.

The ARU has settled on its new protocols, but it is understood it also put forward a proposal that would allow players who had given 50 Tests of service to the Wallabies to spend a year overseas.

Giteau played 92 Tests for Australia before moving to Toulon, regarded as the richest club in the world.

But the former Brumbies playmaker is still playing well enough to warrant selection in the Wallabies.

The cash-strapped ARU has been struggling to match the rich deals of overseas rivals.

The new flexible contracts could play a major role in cross-code superstar Israel Folau staying in rugby, with the lure of playing Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games also a massive carrot.

In the past, players have only been eligible to play for the Wallabies if they play in Australia, putting the lure of the Test jersey up against big dollars on offer overseas.

Larkham moved to Scotland after retiring from Australian rugby in 2007 and then finished his career with the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.

Gregan finished his career by playing with Toulon in France and Suntory in Japan. 

"It's a good thing for Australian rugby ... once they clarify the qualifications, it's a great idea," Gregan said.

"If it's managed well it can work for both parties. Players don't miss out financially and they come back refreshed and reinvigorated with that drive again.

"Some people think it's just running away for the cash, but from a financial perspective the players have to be entitled to that and it will help with the financial stress in Australian rugby."

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers