It’s time for the Wallabies to wake up to the realities of the global expansion of rugby and start selecting players who have opted to move overseas.

Ewan McKenzie options have already been limited by the departure of key players to Europe and Japan, however this trend looks set to continue and even increase after the World Cup.

With rumours emerging that a number of key stars including Will Genia and Israel Folau could be set for moves to England and France respectively McKenzie could find himself struggling to find players to select.


The Springboks have already woken up to the realities of rugby’s global expansion and allowed their players to depart South Africa and still remain available for international selection. This has meant they are still able to call on star players such as Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha who otherwise would not have been available for international selection.

Whilst it seems likely that the predicted exodus of Wallabies after the World Cup will force the ARU’s hand in 2015, it surely makes sense to pre-empt key departures and significantly strengthen Ewan McKenzie’s squad before the World Cup next year.

By allowing McKenzie to select players based overseas the likes of Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Nick Cummins and Digby Ioane would all once again become available for selection, instantly improving the Wallabies options out wide.

There is an obvious downside to this move in that it would likely encourage a number of star players to seek departures in order to increase their earnings abroad, however this seems likely anyway. By allowing some of the more established players to move abroad it would allow ARU funding to be channeled into the development of future Wallabies whilst also encouraging more NRL stars to make the jump and follow Israel Folau’s lead.


There’s also no doubt that having more players available for selection at next year’s World Cup would be a huge boost for a depleted Wallabies squad. The ARU have already started to plan for this by allowing players to take a sabbatical and still be available for selection, but at this stage surely it makes sense to jump right in rather than just dip their toes.

This would mean Australia could select a squad something like the below at next year’s World Cup;

15. Israel Folau

14. James O’Connor

13. Adam Ashley-Cooper

12. Kurtley Beale

11. Henry Speight

10. Quade Cooper

9. Will Genia

1. James Slipper

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Kane Douglas

5. Will Skelton

6. David Pocock

7. Michael Hooper

8. Scott Higginbotham

16. Nathan Charles

17. James Hanson

18. Ben Alexander

19. Sam Carter

20. Scott Fardy

21. Nick Phipps

22. Matt Giteau

23. Drew Mitchell

This would still leave the likes of Digby Ioane, Nick Cummins, Tevita Kuridrani and Matt Toomua available for selection should injuries, etc impact the side.