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ARU to allow some overseas play by Wallabies on long-term contracts

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SYDNEY - The Australian Rugby Union has changed its rules to allow overseas sabbaticals by contracted players in an attempt to make more players eligible for national selection.

The ARU said in a statement Thursday that its board of directors has approved the introduction of "flexible contracts" for a select number of players who commit their future to Australian rugby on long-term deals. From 2016, the ARU will have the ability to offer players the opportunity to play one season in a foreign domestic competition during a long-term contract.

Players like New South Wales fullback Israel Folau and Queensland halfback Will Genia are among those that foreign clubs might be interested in signing after next year's Rugby World Cup.

The ARU has traditionally prevented overseas-based players from being eligible for Wallabies selection.

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