Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will, for this year only, be able to select two overseas based players who don't qualify under the existing 60-Test or seven years' service threshold, opening up a raft of potential possibilities as Australia begins a new era.
It was on Friday confirmed that the Rugby Championship will proceed and in further good news for the Wallabies, the tournament will be hosted in Australia.
So whom should Rennie look to repatriate for World Rugby's Test window?
Current contract: Stade Francais [France, 2021]
The starting hooker under Michael Cheika at last year's World Cup, Latu packed his bags for Paris after the tournament and has since endured a COVID-19 interrupted Top 14 season. Latu has had his discipline issues, both on-field and off, but he is certainly a damaging ball-carrier and defender with an ability to get on the ball at the breakdown, too. The Wallabies' other two World Cup hookers, Jordan Uelese and Folau Fainga'a, have had solid Super Rugby AU seasons while Waratahs rookie Tom Horton is in the Wallabies' train-on squad. Does Rennie really need Latu?
Current club: Toulouse [France, 2022]
One of the Wallabies' best in 2019, Arnold's departure left a significant hole in Australia's second-row stocks. The towering former Brumbies lock had developed into so much more than just a valuable lineout jumper, adding a hardened edge to both his ball-carrying and defence which established him as a truly world-class second-rower. Contracted until the middle of 2022 with Toulouse, Arnold will be 33 by the time the 2023 World Cup rolls around and might not seek a return to Australia beforehand to give himself a chance of playing in France; a focus of RA's Giteau Law tweak being on players who were a good chance to return to Australian rugby permanently being the chief targets. But Arnold would certainly add huge value in the Rugby Championship.
Current club: London Irish [England, 2021]
Former Force and Rebels lock Coleman had been a mainstay of the Wallabies pack for the past few years, before dropping down the pecking order behind Arnold, Rodda and even veteran Rob Simmons, at last year's World Cup. A second-rower renowned for his hard-hitting defence, which had at one stage made him a favourite of Cheika's, Coleman's form fell away slightly in 2019 and he took the chance for a change of scenery with the freshly-promoted London Irish. Another player linked with a possible move to the Force, where he first earned a professional start, Coleman has age on his side but he would certainly trail both Arnold and Rodda if Rennie is comparing the players recent efforts in the gold jersey.
Current club: Lyon [France, 2021]
In what was an ugly episode for Australian rugby, Rodda was one of three Queensland Reds players not to agree to sweeping pay cuts that helped keep the game alive in April. But where Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings showed no signs of a late backflip, there were reports that Rodda had in fact had a change of heart and almost signed on with the Western Force as a result. In the end, he landed at Lyon on a one-year deal that will take him through to the middle of '21. Rodda looked set for a long career at lock for the Wallabies having formed a strong combination alongside Rory Arnold in 2019, with suggestions he could also be a captaincy option despite being overlooked for the role at the Reds. Reports suggest Rodda is already in the sights of the Western Force once his Lyon deal is done, making him an ideal prospect for Rennie for the Wallabies this year.
Current club: La Rochelle [France, 2022]
Rugby Australia has tried in vain to repatriate Skelton in recent times, with his stocks having surged in Europe over the past few years. Skelton originally joined Saracens on a short-term deal in 2016, before establishing himself as a key part of their amazing title success, trophies we now know came outside the rules of the Rugby Football Union's salary cap. But that should not take away from Skelton's physical transformation which has seen his involvements increase but lose little of the impact his massive frame is famous for. Saracens' roster cleanout - a result of their salary cap infringements - saw Skelton join La Rochelle on a two-year deal after reportedly placing an $800,000 per season asking price on himself to RA. A player who will be right in his prime at 31, Rennie may be tempted to bring the former Waratahs lock back for a short-term stint now to get a gauge on exactly how his game responds at Test level after four years out of the international arena.
Current club: Suntory Sungoliath [Japan, 2023]
The bolter of the 2015 World Cup squad, McMahon exploded after that tournament to make himself a regular in Cheika's back-row, playing his best rugby at the tail end of 2017. Sadly, he signed with Suntory Sungoliath and has since extended that deal right through until 2023. McMahon had shown interest in potentially playing Sevens for Australia at the Olympics, which perhaps shows he still has ambitions to wear the gold jersey, but has also been quoted as saying he may call time on his rugby career altogether at 30. The Wallabies are also well stocked for back-row talent given the emergence of Liam Wright, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight and Rob Valetini, to go with existing Test regulars Michael Hooper, Jack Dempsey, Isi Naisarani and last year's hard-luck story Pete Samu, suggesting McMahon might be at longer odds.
Current club: NTT Docomo [Japan, 2021]
Arguably one of the unluckiest players in Australian rugby ever, Gill found himself behind both Michael Hooper and David Pocock at the Wallabies despite being one of the Reds' most consistent performers under title-winning coach Ewen McKenzie. Gill was just as good over the ball as both Pocock and Hooper but always seemed to be No. 3 in the openside pecking order. He has since carved out a fine career at Lyon before RA boss Scott Johnson tried to bring him back to Australian rugby earlier this year, Gill instead opting to sign with Japanese club NTT Docomo. Given the presence of Hooper, McReight and Wright, it's unlikely Gill will add to his 15 Tests under this Giteau Law tweak.
Current club: Bristol [England, 2022]
Remembered for his sensational individual try for the Reds against the British & irish Lions in 2013, Morahan is currently playing at one of the leading Premiership teams in Bristol Bears. He continues to threaten on the edges, often executing his trademark chip-and-chase, but doesn't have age on his side and hasn't been sighted in a Wallabies jersey since 2012. It would be a huge shock to see Rennie bring Morahan back, particularly when he is well stocked for promising outside backs in Australia, alongside the established Marika Koroibete, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks and Tom Banks.
Current club: Northampton [England, 2021]
One of the most damaging wingers in the game, Naiyaravoro has established himself as a fan favourite at Northampton with his tackle shredding runs earning him a healthy contract extension at the Premiership club. Another player to come through under the tutelage of Michael Cheika, Naiyaravoro perhaps never got the chance to really strut his stuff at Test level, making just two appearances back in 2015. If Rennie did fancy a different style of play on the wing - the coach is well stocked for fleet-footed finishers, but perhaps short on true strength and power - then Naiyaravoro would be the ideal candidate, particularly at just 28 years of age. Still, there appear to be more worthy candidates for Rennie to consider.
Current club: Suntory Sungoliath [Japan, 2022]
One of the stars of a disappointing Wallabies' World Cup campaign, it was hard to see Kerevi head back to Japan to commence his three-year deal with Suntory last year. The powerhouse centre had already become the Reds skipper and was emerging as a true Wallabies leader, a player whom the Test side could have been built around in the run to the next global showpiece in France. Kerevi is surely one of the players at the top of Rennie's list, though someone who is well short of match practice and fitness given the Top League season was abandoned amid the coronavirus pandemic back in May. He only returned to Japan on Thursday for preseason training, but could soon be on a flight back to Australia - that is if Suntory don't put too much pressure on him to reject the chance to play for the Wallabies in a bid to have him in tip-top shape for the 2021 Top League season.