Australian Rugby Union tables formal offer for fomer NRL star Mark Gasnier

Offer from the ARU ... Mark Gasnier / Pic: Ross Hodgson Source: The Daily Telegraph

THE Australian Rugby Union has tabled a formal offer to former NRL star Mark Gasnier - paving the way for him to make the Wallabies tour squad at the end of the year.

Sources close to the ex-St George Illawarra star last night confirmed the approach, telling The Daily Telegraph Gasnier is keen to return home from France to pursue his ambitions of playing Super rugby and representing Australia in next year's World Cup.
Gasnier completes his two-year contract with Stade Francais at the end of May. His plan is then to play some club rugby in Australia and hopefully win a spot on the end-of-year tour with confirmed Tests against England, Italy and France.
"His career focus is on Super rugby and playing for Australia in the World Cup- his main ambition is achieving those goals," Gasnier's confidant revealed.
Stade Francais are keen to retain Gasnier while rival French clubs Bayonne and Biarritz are believed to be chasing him.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans yesterday confirmed his interest in Gasnier returning to play rugby in Australia and revealed he and ARU officials have examined footage of the former league star playing in France. "Clearly he is a very capable athlete," Deans said.
The coach added that Gasnier had gained a lot of experience in France across the board, playing at outside centre, inside centre and fullback.
Deans said the first thing he would do was ask Gasnier himself where he thought he was best suited.
"Something the player is excited about is generally better than something you are excited about," Deans said.
"If Mark is interested and does come back, from the ARU perspective he would be available to all the franchises and would be just like any other player in the market."
News of Gasnier's imminent return will spark a frenzy from Australia's Super teams, with the Reds, Rebels and Brumbies considered frontrunners.
Rebels CEO Brian Waldron confirmed his team's interest, saying: "We have spoken to Mark's manager and said there is interest if he is interested in coming to Melbourne, absolutely."
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie, who coached Gasnier at Stade Francais, said: "As far as I know everyone is interested in having a discussion, but no one's going to have any luck unless the ARU is involved."
While the Waratahs have not actively pursued Gasnier, they could also become a contender.
"He is obviously a quality player," Waratahs high performance manager Scott Bowen said.