SARugby Boss surprised at ARU Super15 move

South African Rugby Boss Oregan Hoskins has admitted that he was surprised that the Australian Rugby Union went ahead with allowing the new Super 15 team in Melbourne to recruit 10 international players from 2011.

Hoskins also said this decision could add “a new dynamic” to the Super 15 tournament which kicks off in 2011.

Before actually criticising the move though Hoskins was careful not to judge the situation prematurely and said it was important to see who the international players would be.

ARU Boss John O’Neill announced earlier this week that they would ease the foreign player policy for the Melbourne franchise to ensure that new franchise was on par with the other four Australian franchises and was competitive from the outset.

Currently Australian teams are only allowed to contract only two overseas or marquee players so that Australian depth at international level is not affected.

A marquee player is generally described as someone who has already qualified for another nation or a development player who could qualify for Australian selection under the International Rugby Board’s (IRB’s) three- year residency regulation.

“I am surprised to see that Melbourne has been allowed eight more international players than the other franchises,” Hoskins told the Fiji Times.

“If franchises are open to internationals it could add a new dynamic to the southern hemisphere series. With 10 internationals, the Melbourne franchise will essentially be an international franchise.”

Hoskins said it would be particularly interesting to see if the Pacific Islands – FijiSamoa and Tonga – would make up a large number of the players or if the Melbourne bosses would go as far as to recruit Argentinian and Italian players.

“It wouldn’t be fair to comment on the decision before seeing who the players are,” said Hoskins.

“But from a South African and New Zealand perspective, it is surprising to see the extent to which Australia would go to ensure they form a competitive franchise.

“Once we see the list they unveil we can take it from there, but for now it would be best to see how the situation pans out.”

Whilst Hoskins is obviously concerned about the new Super 15 team signing up developing South African talent the main implications of including several Islanders in the Melbourne franchise is that it could compromise the IRB’s development programme to strengthen the Fijian, Samoan and Tongan teams ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

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