Waratahs coach calls for more flexibility

NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson is proposing a reciprocal arrangement between Super Rugby and English Premiership clubs in a bid to retain more of Australia’s elite players.

Gibson on Thursday applauded the ARU’s handling of David Pocock’s contract negotiations and urged the governing body to continue exploring new avenues to keep Wallabies stars in Super Rugby.

Pocock, arguably the most influential player in international rugby, has been granted a sabbatical in 2017 as part of a “flexible contract”, a contract option Gibson would like to see utilised more when negotiating with players wanting to venture to Europe.

“It definitely works well in Japan,” he said as the Waratahs battle to retain Wallabies backline utility Kurtley Beale, who is weighing up a two-season $2.7 million offer from London Wasps.

“Players view that as a good top-up to their contract and they can still come back and play the majority of Super Rugby without being too compromised.

“Obviously with Europe, it’s a whole different ball game – but potentially (it’s) possible.

“If you can partner with an overseas or European club and potentially share a contract, that’s kind of the flexibility that possibly we may have to get to in the future if we want our best players to play in Australia.”

Gibson admitted his notion would take some nutting out, but believed it plausible for northern and southern hemisphere clubs to share a player.

“Certainly you look at a team like (London) Saracens and the (Cape Town-based) Stormers, there’s been a reciprocal arrangement there with players in the past,” he noted.

“The fact that that they can go up and play premiership and then also come back and play Super (Rugby).

“How we want to view that in terms of are we at the tipping point where we’re going to lose more and more? Or is it just normal, the fact that top players will come and go?

“And they want to go overseas at the eight, nine-year, 10-year mark, or they’ve done good service in Australia, you really can’t argue with that, I don’t believe.”

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