Gill, Holmes released, ARU unhappy

Date published: August 13 2016

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Australia has been left seething after a contracting situation that has led to Liam Gill and Greg Holmes being released to their new clubs.

Gill signed a deal with Toulon earlier this year while Holmes did the same with Exeter Chiefs as they looked for a new challenge in their careers.

But, it appears that the new contracts were set to begin on August 1, which conflicts with current Australian terms that end on December 31.

That's led to Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika having the tough decision of either refusing to let the pair leave or allowing the departures.

"Yeah we could play hard ball and all that business but where’s the bonus for me to cost Liam Gill his [European] contract?," he told rugby.com.au.

"If he really wants to go that much he doesn't want to play for Australia, then that's it, but at the same time, the rules are in place for a reason and we shouldn't have to be making these decisions."

He did however take a swipe at the agents of the players: "Maybe, the agents haven't taken the ARU seriously.

"The reality is the player has a contract and it's only because we're being nice people that they're being allowed to fulfil those."

"It won’t happen again," he added.

"These (decisions) have been made on compassionate grounds because these guys have been put in awkward situations by their management.”

ARU general manager of high performance Ben Whitaker was also upset that they were put in this position, especially ahead of the Rugby Championship.

"If a contract runs until 31 December and any agent gets a player to sign a contract which commences on 1 August, he is forcing his client to breach his standard player contract,” he said in a statement.

"There’s a responsibility that agents represent the best interest of their clients, however any breach of Player Agent Regulations is putting players at risks of fines and sanctions, which is of great concern for the game.

"This decision has not been made lightly, however we have put the best interest of the players first."

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