- Australian rugby Thursday gave the green light to one-year sabbaticals for top internationals, easing strict eligibility rules in a bid to halt a drift of talent overseas.
The change was approved by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) board this week, allowing players the opportunity to join a foreign domestic competition from 2016 while under contract with Australian rugby.
Currently only domestic-based players are allowed to represent Australia.
"We’ve recognised that in the context of an increasingly global market for rugby players that we need to take a more flexible approach to player contracting," said ARU chief executive Bill Pulver.
This year, former Wallabies captain Ben Mowen and Australia lock Kane Douglas have gone to France and Ireland respectively.
New Zealand has given sabbaticals to its top players including Dan Carter, who played a season in France, and Ma'a Nonu, who went to Japan.