Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wallabies targetting Gasnier

April 10, 2006

It looks like the Australian Rugby Union is looking to poach another Kangaroo.

Like the acquisitions of league stars Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri into the Wallaby ranks the past few years, Greg Crowden in The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting the ARU is looking to sign Mark Gasnier, the strong 25 year old 100kg ball-runner with the St.George-Illawara Dragons in the NRL, and the feeling may be mutual:

Kangaroos centre Mark Gasnier's anticipated move to rugby union went one step closer yesterday when he met Australian Rugby Union officials for a second time.

ARU managing director Gary Flowers confirmed to the Herald last night that he and chief operations officer Rob Clarke met Gasnier and his manager George Mimis yesterday. The meeting was held at Clarke's Mosman house.

No money was discussed at the meeting, and it will be at least a week before a firm offer is made to the world's best rugby league centre by the ARU.

ARU officials believe Gasnier has a sincere interest in playing rugby, not primarily because of the money angle, but through the challenge of becoming a dual international. Wallabies coach John Connolly, who believes Gasnier would be a success in rugby, explained recently that the NRL player had given off the right vibes when he had his first meeting with the ARU last month. Gasnier originally met Connolly and new Wallabies selector Michael O'Connor.

If Gasnier, who is off contract at the end of the NRL season, moves across, he is a near certainty to be selected for the Wallabies' end-of-season tour of Europe, where he is likely to play in several proposed midweek matches.

Flowers said the meeting with Gasnier had been "positive".

"No contract terms were discussed … it was really a chance for us to meet Gasnier, and gauge his level of interest in wanting to play rugby," Flowers said last night.

"He is interested but there are issues on both sides which need to be worked through. Basically, at the end of the meeting, we agreed to walk away and reconvene in the not-too-distant future. No specific timetable has been set but we don't want this thing hovering around forever.

"It was a good meeting but there still are issues."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

And Lote Tuqiri wants to see more of it.

Australia and Waratahs star Lote Tuqiri has encouraged the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to continue its raid on the ranks of Rugby League.

The dual international, who was poached from the Brisbane Broncos in 2002, believes the time is right for the 15-man game to shed its elitist image and move into the mainstream.

"If there's someone worth chasing they should be chased."


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