Wallabies forwards Wycliff Palu and Sekope Kepu have suggested they won’t necessarily make themselves available for Australia next year, even if as seems likely they fulfil the criteria for overseas based players.
Following this year’s World Cup, prop Kepu will head to French club Bordeaux-Begles and No.8 Palu is joining Japanese club Toyota Verblitz.
The two long serving Waratahs forwards have each fulfilled one of the criteria for overseas domiciled payers to represent the Wallabies, as each has had a professional contract in Australia for the stipulated minimum of seven years.
The other criterion is to have 60 Test caps and Palu is currently on 54 and Kepu 52.
Regular appearances in this year’s Rugby Championship and World Cup would enable each to reach the 60 cap mark before they head to foreign shores.
On Monday neither man gave a definitive commitment to remain available for international duty if they did meet the criteria.
“The main reason why I left is down to being away too much from the family,” 29-year-old Kepu told AAP.
“But in terms of me going away and if I was to be selected again, that will be me being away more and the same thing and my family would be in a foreign country.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Backs Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell, two overseas-based players already eligible to return to the Wallabies, enhanced their prospects of a World Cup call-up by helping French club Toulon clinch a European Champions Cup hat-trick on the weekend.
Winger Mitchell scored a dazzling solo try, beating six Clermont defenders, while five-eight Giteau produced several silky touches and incisive runs.
“I watched the match and both Giteau and Mitchell played very well,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika told AAP on Monday.
Cheika was also very pleased with the latest get together of Wallabies players in Canberra on Saturday.
Players from the Brumbies and Waratahs who were on opposing sides the previous night were joined by Queenslanders, Will Genia, Quade Cooper and James Slipper.
“We (the Brumbies and Waratahs players) didn’t really talk much about what happened the night before,” Palu said.