Former Wallabies Justin Harrison and Morgan Turinui are urging caution in opening Australia’s Super Rugby borders to a further influx of international talent.

Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos told reporters that he was open to the idea of importing more players following a 0-5 start to the Super Rugby trans-Tasman season.

The Force – who lost to the Chiefs by two points in Perth on Saturday – are already heavily reliant of overseas cattle as they rebuild the club following their controversial culling from Super Rugby in 2017.

Harrison, who is the chief executive of Australia’s players association, said RA needed to tread carefully on this issue.

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“What does that mean for our progression of talent, producing World Cup winning Wallaroos, Wallabies and sevens players who win gold medals?” Harrison said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven on Tuesday night.

“All of those things need to be treated in connection with each other. Look what happened with Michael Hooper. Being smart about balancing players overseas and coming back, still Australia eligible, so we don’t provide a cost burden on a model that’s not feeding back into our ecosystem.

“Michael Hooper goes overseas, Carlo Tizzano puts his hand up as a Test capable player, that’s probably what we’d rather see from a talent progression pathway.”

Turinui said that Australia had proven it was capable of producing enough talent to sustain five competitive Super Rugby teams.

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It just needed to do a better job keeping them in work on home soil.

“We need to make sure we’re talking about retention,” Turinui said.

“Look at all the Aussie players overseas, there’s got to be a focus on the retention and repatriation of players that are already overseas, particularly in that middle 20s age group where they should be coming into Super Rugby and they’re actually playing overseas.”

The 0-5 round one humbling has raised fears of another lopsided competition and All Blacks Mils Muliaina said this week that he was disappointed with a lack of intensity from Australian teams.

But Harrison prefereed to focus on the positives.

“The Brumbies were missing nine players and went within a kick of drawing the game,” the former Test lock said.

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“We’re seeing some DNA and identity of what it means to be an Australian rugby player… We’ve got the Waratahs discovering what it is to be a Waratah and they’re starting to show some nous in attack and leadership on the field with Jake Gordon. Let’s not look to extinguish that with foreign bodies.”

Former Test midfielder Turinui said Australia’s five teams should be judged at the end of the competition, not after one weekend.

“We’ve seen enough – the two grand finalists in Super Rugby Aotearoa (Crusaders and Chiefs), we (Brumbies and Force) lost by a cumulative three points,” Turinui said.

“Yes, we’ve got work to do across the board, there’s still feeling out and shock, I think every defensive coach in the comp has had sleepless nights, whether they’re from New Zealand or Australia. So there’s work to do for everyone.

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“Let’s just wait and see what happens, there’s some encouraging signs across the board.”

Another issue tackled by the Rugby Heaven panel was whether to rush Wallabies captain Hooper back into NSW blue following his return from Japan.

Hooper is back in Australia in 14 day quarantine after his Top League team Toyota Verblitz were beaten by the Panasonic Wild Knights in the semifinals on Saturday.

Harrison and Turinui agreed he was within his rights to take a decent breather despite the Waratahs’ horror 0-9 start to the year.

“I’d be happy to see the Tizzanos and guys like that keep playing,” Turinui said.

“Let’s give those guys experience. We know what Michael Hooper can offer, let’s save him for the Test series (against France in July). The issues they have, seven isn’t one of their big ones. Tighthead prop, locks and some other players in their backline – I think seven is the least of their worries at the moment.”

Turinui also rattled off some leading candidates to fill the vacant coaching roles at the Rebels and Waratahs.

Kevin Foote is the interim Rebels coach after Dave Wessels’ departure and got off to a rocky start with a 50-3 battering at the hands of the Blues.

And NSW are being guided by interim co-coaches in Jason Gilmore and Chris Whitaker.

“There’s a core group of names that have been thrown out there,” Turinui said.

“Darren Coleman’s in LA, who’s won Shute Shield, John Manenti, Tim Walsh – no-one knows what he’s doing after sevens – Les Kiss, his name’s been thrown around both the Tahs and Rebels jobs and then there’s the incumbent assistants at both.

“So there’s a huge number and what will also be important for those clubs is how they rationalise their coach role with the GM of rugby role or who runs the off-field processes and systems of rugby. They have to be looked at together, they can’t be in isolation, so there’s four really important roles at two clubs.”

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