Australia should drop Giteau Law to 40 caps: Eddie Jones

by Iain Payten

Eddie Jones believes Rugby Australia should drop the ‘Giteau Law’ threshold from 60-caps to 40-caps to better deal with global player movement.

Jones offered his view on the eligibility laws of Australian rugby during a book-tour interview between the England coach and the ABC’s flagship 730 program, in which he also endorsed Dave Rennie’s appointment and said he’d only had brief contact with Raelene Castle about the possibility of returning to the Wallabies.

Five years after it was introduced, Castle said in August that Rugby Australia will be reviewing the Giteau Law, and whether it remains fit-for-purpose.

To protect the strength of Super Rugby in Australia, the current rules stipulate players wishing to be eligible for the Wallabies have to play in Australia.

But the so-called “Giteau Law” was introduced in 2015 to allow dispensation for a certain category of player to be selected from overseas.

If a player has more than 60 caps and seven years service inside Australian rugby, they do not have to be playing in Australia; and Matt Giteau was the first player called up.

There have been calls for Australia to follow in the footsteps of new world champions South Africa, however, who scrapped their similar, 30-cap threshold. 

Others, including Jones, think the threshold could be at least reduced.

"I think maybe they need to reconsider that Giteau's law," Jones said.

"Players move around a lot more now and maybe the number of caps needs to be reduced.

"Maybe the number should be 40 caps in the future, which allows more flexibility.

"Players will move because they are professional players now.”

Following his success in leading England to the World Cup final, many called for Rugby Australia to pursue Jones as Michael Cheika’s replacement as Wallabies coach.

Jones still had two years left on his contract with England and while he said there was contact, he didn’t regard it as a formal approach.

"There was no formal discussion,” Jones said.

"There was a brief text exchange with no actual in-depth discussion about whether I was interested in coaching Australia.

"I think it was a convenient conversation for the ARU to have, to be honest.

"I don't think they were really interested in bringing me back as the Australian coach."

Jones showed no public interesting in leaving England and returning to Australia, either, and poaching him from the RFU, the richest union the world, would have been an expensive assignment.

All indications are Scott Johnson and Castle have been in advanced talks with Dave Rennie for some time, in any case.

Jones gave his approval to the former Chiefs coach, and said nationality doesn’t matter in the modern world of professional sport. 

"Dave Rennie will do a good job, he's a very good coach'" Jones said.

"He's got a good way with people, so I think he'll bring the team together."

"Ideally, Australia would like to have an Australian [coach], but if the best candidate is a Kiwi, go with the Kiwi," he said.

"What we're seeing is the globalisation of sport, which happens in nearly every endeavour of life.

"If you look at most countries around the world, apart from probably New Zealand and France, they've got non-native coaches. And that's how sport's going."

Jones said Australian rugby should spend more money on junior development and talent identification.