O'Neill slams Welsh over recruitment
September 17, 1999
As the Jason Jones-Hughes saga continues to drag on the Australian Rugby chief has described the Welsh as "crass" in their efforts to recruit more Australian based players.
A half-page advertisement in the Australian Rugby Review calls for players in Australia to check their family trees for Welsh ancestors.
"They are absolute shockers. How bloody crass can you get?" the incensed O'Neill told 'The Australian' newspaper.
"Is this what international rugby is all about these days? I would have hoped not, but there is also an impression out there that you could swap the name of Wales for Ireland, Scotland and England as well. It's a pattern of behaviour, this luring players from other countries, that seems to be going on across the UK and Ireland."
Many have seen the Australia stance over Jones-Hughes as a double standard, with the Wallabies including form Springbok Tiaan Strauss and Puma Patrico Noriega in their World Cup squad. However O'Neill refuted these charges claiming that those cases were different because they had completed three-year residency qualifications and had made themselves eligible for Australia "by the book," while Jones-Hughes was still under contract to the ARU.