Cheika frustrated by Gill, Holmes release


Australia coach Michael Cheika has voiced his frustration at the early release of forwards Liam Gill and Greg Holmes from their contracts.

The Reds duo are set to join Toulon and Exeter Chiefs respectively ahead of the new European season, but neither had met the requirements to earn an early release from their Australian Rugby Union (ARU) deals.

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, which this year falls on October 22.

Cheika wanted both players in his squad for the Rugby Championship but will have to make do without the pair after the ARU allowed them to depart.

"We could play hard ball but where's the bonus for me to cost Liam Gill his contract if he really wants to go that much and he doesn't want to play for Australia?" Cheika said.

"These [releases] have been made on compassionate grounds because I know the guys have been put in awkward situations by their management because they haven't been told the truths of the matter."

Cheika insisted the circumstances were a one off and that no other players would be afforded the same allowances.

"The rules of the current collective bargaining agreement are going to be upheld from this day on, because maybe the agents haven't taken the ARU seriously," he added.

"One of these agents is saying if it doesn't happen, then he's going to go legal action against us. Like, really?

"I'm not sure where they think they come off doing that."

Gill has 15 Australia caps to his name, while Holmes has made 27 Wallabies appearances.