Super Rugby

ARU releases Reds Gill and Holmes

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The Australian Rugby Union have confirmed that they have granted Liam Gill and Greg Holmes early releases so that they can take up contracts in Europe.

Both players were excluded from the Wallabies Rugby Championship squad and have now been released with immediate effect from their existing Standard Player Contract with the ARU, after formally entering into contracts with Toulon RC and Exeter Chiefs during their contractual term.

Under Australian Rugby contracting rules, in which deals run until December 31, both players would still be required to participate in the NRC and Wallabies preparations.

The ARU has considered both individual situations and has allowed both players to exit their contracts to begin their European obligations.

Players and their agents are aware that all ARU contracts only allow for those who have provided seven years of consecutive service to be granted an early release after the third Bledisloe Cup match in a calendar year.

This year that match is in Auckland on October 22.

Australian Rugby Union General Manager of High Performance Ben Whitaker said the Agent Accreditation Board insist agents must not induce a breach by a player of the Standard Player Contract.

“It is disappointing to be put in a position to make a decision when players have signed two contracts within the same term by their agents,” said Whitaker.

“Therefore we really have no other choice but to release the players, as they have been put in a difficult situation where they have been mislead and misrepresented.

“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.

“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 in this instance we’ve put the best interest of the players first.”

Any standard player contract specifically prohibits players from contracting to play rugby for another club during the term of their contract. Under the Player Agent Regulations an agent must not procure a breach by a player of the Standard Player Contract.

Holmes played for the Wallabies against England in the last June Test in Sydney, while Liam Gill was part of Michael Cheika’s squad through the campaign.

A dual premiership winner with NRC club Brisbane City, Gill also captained the Reds in their final match of 2016 and was a runaway winner of the club’s Stan Pilecki Medal in 2015.

The pair were both part of Queensland’s winning 2011 Super Rugby campaign.

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