Cheika wants rookies to stay in Australia

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Michael Cheika says young players need to stay in Australia if they want to assure their Test chances.

Flanker Sean McMahon and centre Campbell Magnay are set to take up Japanese deals in the next Top League season, both out of Test contention.

McMahon has been picked in the Rugby Championship squad, not set to head overseas until after Spring Tour, while Magnay has been left out of the 34-man group named on Friday.

Magnay’s situation is an intriguing one, with the Reds back looking for a contract back in Australia but mooted to be looking at a short-term contract with the Crusaders in between Japanese seasons.

It’s a move that would delay any potential Wallabies debut, with players unable to be picked from overseas unless they have 60 or more caps.

The 60-cap minimum, or ‘Giteau’s Law’ has been in place since 2015, but currently no players come under the rule, with Will Genia the latest to return from overseas.

Asked about Magnay's situation, Cheika said players were taking the short-term view if they opted to head overseas young

“I think that the advice that these young fellas are getting is this whole thing of, 'I've got to get as much as I can out of my career now' as opposed to maybe getting some balance and making sure that the goals for not just your rugby career but your post-rugby are well and truly set so you've got a plan,” he said.

“As disappointed as I am that he's decided to do that, what he does when he comes back will be up to him.”

Cheika was blunt when asked whether he thought the rules on Test players being picked from overseas, even just across the ditch, should be relaxed.

“Nope,” he said.

“We want players playing here in our competitions.

“I believe our competitions can be really good but we need to start setting that tone more and more that we want our players playing here and within the right balance.

“We've got some rules that allow experienced players maybe to have some time overseas but right now we don't have any of those and I think for young players we need to have them here

“I want to see him, if he's not playing with the Wallabies, I want to see him playing in the NRC or I want to see him playing with his club right now. So Sef Faagase who didn't make it in the squad he'll be playing for his club this weekend.

“Jack Dempsey who did make the squad is playing with his club this weekend because he wants to play.

“I think that's the tone i want to set within the team and I think that's what players want as well and the more we set that tone, the more we'll set the example that that's what we want.”

On the other end of the scale, Genia is yet to find a 2018 Super Rugby home, with cost still believed to be preventing him from sealing the deal with Queensland

Cheika said he was yet to discuss Genia’s future with the halfback, but didn’t think it would be any kind of distraction.

“The boys said he's been running hard since he got back to training up in Brisbane in the last regional camp and the last few days,” he said.

“I suppose I'll talk to him about it when I get to the Hunter Valley because I haven't really thought about it.”

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on August 19 in the opening Bledisloe, kicking off at 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.