Samu Kerevi and Will Skelton are now eligible for the Wallabies after the Rugby Australia announced an amendment to their selection policy for 2020 only ahead of the Test season.
Rugby Australia have announced an amendment to their selection policy for 2020 only ahead of the Test season. However, Dave Rennie will be allowed to pick just two extra players outside of the usual guidelines to be picked for Wallabies.
In addition to the 'Giteau Law' - that allows for foreign-based players who have played 60 Tests and given seven years of service to the code in Australia - RA will allow for a maximum of two players to be selected during World Rugby's international window.
“This is a prudent and measured step in response to the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Australian rugby and the broader rugby community," Rugby Australia interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said.
“Dave (Rennie) will soon assemble his squad and they’re likely to remain in a ‘bubble’ for 10 weeks with no opportunity to call in replacements for injury due to the quarantined environment. It will be a real test for those players selected, and the Wallabies management team, but I know they are incredibly excited about the opportunity.
“We are being quite clear that this addition is for this year only but that we will continue to review the entire policy from time to time, as required."
RA said the change recognised the significant and unprecedented impact caused by COVID-19 on the game in Australia and around the world.
The change opens up a lengthy list of players that Wallabies coach Dave Rennie can call on, from locks Rory Arnold and Will Skelton-- where the Australians are short in personnel -- to back-rower Sean McMahon and centre Samu Kerevi.
"First and foremost, it is crucial that we recognise those players who are currently making a daily contribution to rugby in Australia, and that will be reflected in the squad we name for this year's Test season," Rennie said.
"We now have the chance to select one or two players based overseas who don't meet the current criteria and they'll not only add some experience to our group but be able to guide our young players to help their development.
“We are also looking long term though. We want to bring players back to play Super Rugby here in Australia, especially those who are passionate about playing for the Wallabies, get them excited about being in the environment again and this is a great way to encourage that."
The Wallabies are currently seventh on the World Rugby rankings following their quarter-final exit at last year's World Cup in Japan while The Bledisloe Cup series and The Rugby Championship Tests have yet to be confirmed for 2020.
A meeting between SANZAAR and the host unions on Thursday is hoped to confirm the Test calendar.