Retaining top stars worries Cheika

Date published: November 30 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Michael_Cheika_Australia

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has admitted that Australia face a tough battle to retain their top players next year.

Contracts in the UK and France remain as lucrative as ever in comparison to what the Australian Rugby Union are able to offer, with lock Rory Arnold and centre Tevita Kuridrani recently linked with moved to the Top 14.

Cheika has been unable to call upon Will Genia for Saturday's Test due to the match falling outside of World Rugby's Test mtch window.

"Everyone off (contract) in 2017 is linked with a move," Cheika told AAP.

"For us to keep our players, we've got to be doing an unbelievable job on the ground. They can offer them more in Sterling, albeit Brexit's almost a little thing that's helped the Australian Rugby Union in a way.

"Albeit with a small decline in Sterling and Euro, they're getting offered more than we're able to offer them in dollars.

"We've got to make sure that playing, not just for Australia but for your Super Rugby team, is something that's going to make you a better player, a better person.

"Then when the opportunity to play for Australia comes around it has to be something that players really want."

Cheika also recognised the problems South Africa have faced in the last couple of years with players moving overseas and the Springboks sliding down the rankings as a result.

"That's the real world issue for us," Cheika added.

"South Africa have been ripped apart by departures and it's happening to New Zealand too. We've gone on a clear plan to try and grow the number of players that are competing for spots in the Australian team because we have blooded so many new players and we've done it on purpose.

"When you play 15 Tests against the top eight nations in one year, there's no easy games. We've seen … over here how true that is. You've got to try four or five debutants in a game, five first-time starters in a game.

"We'll take a bit of pain initially and we'll keep doing it until we build the depth we need to stay competitive no matter how many players come overseas."

COMMENTS