Macqueen calls for home grown Super15 team

Rod Macqeen says that the much anticipated Melbourne Super 15 team should be built on home-grown talent and should not be filled with foreigners as many expect the team to be.


Macqueen is one of Australia’s most successful coaches having won the TriNations, a Lions series and the Rugby World Cup.


He was also the man that built the Brumbies from scratch and only brought in one foreigner at the time.


Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O’Neill has speculated that the proposed new Super Rugby outfit would be “a bit of a Heinz variety team”.


O’Neill’s comments were not because the ARU wants the three rival Melbourne consortiums to come together into an unlikely marriage of convenience, but to O’Neill’s belief that 30-35 per cent of the playing roster would be filled by Pacific Islanders, possibly supplemented by some Argentine and Japanese players.


If SANZAR do award to the Super 15 franchise to Melbourne (and we all know they will ) then the ARU are likely to grant the new team an exemption to import as many as a dozen footballers to play in the Super 15 who are not eligible to represent Australia.


But Macqueen, who had only one foreigner in his original 27-man Brumbies squad in 1996, Argentine prop Patricio Noriega has insisted that far from looking to build a team largely on foreigners, Melbourne should be allowed to focus on developing local players.


If that can’t be done then a number of overseas players -South Africans in particular – who would emigrate to Melbourne in the hope of one day becoming a Wallaby.


“I think it’s a great decision to settle on Melbourne,” said Macqueen, who assisted the Victorian Rugby Union on developing the rugby side of its bid.


“Melbourne is definitely the right choice for Australian rugby.


“One of the things that’s particularly important is that this team is able to produce home-grown Wallabies. “


“While there is a push for getting islanders involved, the emphasis should be on producing Wallabies.”


“The achilles heel of Australian rugby is lack of depth.” he told the Australian.


Macqueen’s original squad included 15 ACT players but even if the Victorian rugby rounded up all of their home grown talent such as Rocky Elsom and Digby Ioane they would struggle to make 15.


The world cup winning coach says that he impressed with the way the VRU has raised the standard of its rugby.


“I don’t think there’s a big difference between where ACT rugby  was and where Melbourne rugby is,” Macqueen said.


“The VRU has done some really good things and rugby is in good stead in Melbourne.”


The Super 14 will expand to a Super 15 in 2011.

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