sport

Pulver maintains stance

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief Bill Pulver admits he has ‘zero appetite’ concerning a change in the rules to allow player sabbaticals.

Players currently must complete a full season of domestic rugby in Australia to be eligible for national team selection, ruling out stars such as Israel Folau from taking up lucrative short-term overseas deals.

The full-back this week to Europe or a switch of code back to league for himself before next year's Rugby World Cup in England and Pulver has ruled out altering his hardline stance.

"There is a lot of discussion around this but I have to be clear: I have zero appetite to change it," he said.

"It's not a concern (the prospect of losing the in-demand Folau). Look, at the end of the day, we only want people to play rugby in Australia who want to play rugby in Australia. "We're not about trying to talk anyone into staying if they don't want to stay. So every individual player will have to form their own view. "When it comes to that policy, I really do not see it changing and I think the logic's pretty compelling."

He added he hoped Folau would place the chance of becoming Australia's greatest-ever player above money. "He's a phenomenal talent. He could well be on a path to being the best rugby player in the world. He could be on a path to being the most significant rugby player in Australian history," said Pulver. "He's an incredible talent. Fans gravitate towards the guy and he lights up whatever field he runs on to. "So is he a great asset to Australian rugby? Clearly. Would we love to keep him long-term? Clearly. From what I understand of Israel Folau's position, I think he's loving our game. "I think there's a lot of reasons why he should stay."