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Thread: ARU drops ball as foreign clubs raid Wallabies

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    ARU drops ball as foreign clubs raid Wallabies

    Josh Rakic and Adrian Proszenko
    January 23, 2011

    Matt Giteau at Brumbies traing at Jervis Bay. Photo: Andrew Sheargold
    THE World Cup will be the last time the majority of the Wallabies play together as defections overseas or to rival codes threaten to decimate Australia's playing ranks.

    And The Sun-Herald can reveal that the ARU has made no attempt to retain superstar Matt Giteau although the 28-year-old playmaker stands to earn less in France than through his existing Wallabies deal.

    Fifteen other Wallabies stars are off contract in October but the governing body has less than a fortnight to secure some of the biggest names as cashed-up European clubs prepare to pounce.

    Hooker Stephen Moore and back-rower Huia Edmonds have already signed with Paris club Racing Metro and English side Saracens respectively, while Dean Mumm, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Luke Burgess have been given strict signing deadlines from determined French clubs as they look to cement their rosters by February.

    ARU officials returned from their Christmas and New Year's holiday break last week to learn that international clubs had fast-tracked contract negotiations with their players, shifting contract deadlines to January - six months earlier than usual - in anticipation of a busy cup period.

    And as rumours of unrest in Camp Wallaby between players, coaching staff and administration refuse to die, some of the code's biggest names are prepared to walk out on Australian rugby - and sign their lives away as soon as this week.

    ''The board just thinks that playing for the jersey is enough, but if the environment that these guys live in day-in and day-out is not one that's enjoyable, then no one is going to want to keep putting themselves through it,'' a source close to the Wallabies said.

    ''There are players out there who would prefer to stay in Australia and just play Super rugby in the current climate. But the ARU isn't even talking to anyone - they don't know if there will be staff changes next year. A guy like Matt Giteau is about to ink a deal and the ARU haven't even initiated contract talks with him. It doesn't make sense.''

    Negotiations between the ARU and its players don't normally begin until the middle of the year. Some of the players believe the ARU should make the first move.

    ''A lot of players are under deadlines from the international clubs and whether they go or not is really depending on how long they can keep the clubs at bay before the ARU attempts to talk with them,'' the source said. ''But if they don't come to the table in time, than the players' hands will be forced. Because if they pass up the overseas deals then they have no bargaining power with the ARU beyond their existing contracts. So things are going to come to a head very shortly. And these alleged lucrative big-money deals that are meant to be luring players away are just spin. The reality of it is that pretty much in every case I'm aware of, you can earn more money in Australia.''

    The ARU, however, has rejected the claims and insists the door is always open for emergency contract talks if players are being targeted.

    ''Clearly we want to retain our best talent and are aware of the need to start discussions in a World Cup year earlier than usual,'' an ARU spokesperson told The Sun-Herald.

    "However, if there are any players fielding overseas offers who want or need to speak to us as a matter of urgency we are more than happy to hear from them. We are being vigilant on the retention side and anyone who wants to suggest otherwise should be prepared to put their names to any such claims."

    ARU chief executive John O'Neill and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans are both off contract at year's end.

    Wallabies and Reds legend Tim Horan backed the administration, explaining player movement inevitable after a World Cup. He also urged O'Neill to sign the big names before it was too late.

    ''The World Cup has always been such a large carrot for rugby players to stay and play,'' Horan said. ''Once you've ticked that box there's a bit of a gap to the next challenge.''

    Targets on their heads
    Matt Giteau

    Age: 26

    All but gone to Biarritz or Stade Francais.

    Kurtley Beale

    Age: 22

    International offers and NRL. Undecided.

    Rob Horne

    Age: 21

    Will stay.

    Drew Mitchell

    Age: 26

    Strong possibility to Biarritz.

    Dean Mumm

    Age: 26

    Strong possibility to France.

    Luke Burgess

    Age:26

    Strong possibility to France.

    Al Baxter

    Age: 34

    Likely to stay.

    Phil Waugh

    Age: 31

    International offers, but undecided.

    Adam Ashley-Cooper

    Age: 26

    Strong possibility to France. Keen to stay.

    Stephen Moore

    Age: 28

    Gone to France.

    Huia Edmonds

    Age: 29

    Gone to England.

    Rocky Elsom

    Age: 27

    Likely to return to Leinster.

    Nathan Sharpe

    Age: 32.

    International offers, but considering retirement.

    Berrick Barnes

    Age: 24

    Weighing up French rugby, NRL or

    staying.

    David Pocock

    Age: 22

    Under contract but keen to go to France if mass exodus.

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/un...122-1a0iw.html

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Call me cynical, but I wonder which agent(s) dropped this story onto these journo's, they are obviously trying to up the amount and get signed off their own player contracts before the world cup in case (1) their player(s) do not get into the World Cup squad or (2) do not fare well enough for a top up after the world cup.

    Besides Matt Giteau, who seems to be on they way overseas and he intimated that this would probably be the next move for him after the WC ages ago, this story is getting stretched .

    Pockock and Beale at 22 thinking of leaving!!! come on after the year they just both had and the rugby world at their feet, get real!

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    Senior Player theforceguy's Avatar
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    and gits ain't a big loss either

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    Its not like the ARU are ripping anyone off, if these players don't want to re-sign with an appropriate ARU offer then there is no problem, they obviously don't want to play for the Wallabies. Let them go.

    Furthermore there is no good evidence to suggest any of those players are off before the world cup. The only suspicious activity here is this Journalist's willingness to lie for a scoop.

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    Sad....... but this professional sport I guess..... great for the next wave of ne comers......

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    giteau_rugby
    Super story in the sunherald today! Pity facts r untrue but u know the old saying, 'never let truth get in way of a good story'
    4 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone

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    This article was written by two League journo's so I'd take this with a great deal of salt. When they can't even get tge position right .i.e. Edmunds or even actually suggest the latter is an actual loss proves they know sweet fuck all. Expect more of these article with the RWC on the horizon. League and its cheerleaders know this is a big event, one they cannot possibly compete with so are already beginning to create uncertainty and paranoia.

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giteau_rugby
    Super story in the sunherald today! Pity facts r untrue but u know the old saying, 'never let truth get in way of a good story'
    4 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone
    Good call.

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    Of that lost, there are only two worries (one being desperate, the other, a bit of a concern) drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper. At 26, they might be seriously considering the move, and AAC would be a huge loss for us. Everybody else is either a fiction to bulk up the numbers or no surprise and no loss.

    I follow the force pretty closely and I'd be shocked if either sharpie or bam went against their word, both have said before they're going nowhere, but both listed as undecided.

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    C'mon the

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    Pocock can't leave yet- he signed a 2 year contract last year. I'd like to see Ashley-Cooper stay, don't care about Mitchell, but both could be replaced. In Ashley-Cooper's case there are options in Rob Horne (if he can stay injury free), Will Chambers, Digby Ioane and Mitch Inman (if he can develop he play a little more). Plus a handful of other options are bound to be thrown up. With Mitchell there are plenty more. Lachie Turner was in great form covering for him in the Sydney Bledisloe. Other options there include Rod Davies, Cam Shepherd (if he returns to his best), Nick Cummins, Peter Hynes and probably a handful of other options that might come up in the season.

    I wouldn't worry about the individuals but rather the number of individuals. To maintain five Australian super rugby teams we need depth. If it looks like an exodus is about to happen I hope the ARU do the smart thing and allow another foreign marquee and development player per team.

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    The Wallabies NEED a clean out post RWC, so if players are thinking of moving then that is the time.
    I have full faith in the eagerness and potential of the next crop being led by our current 23-20 year olds.
    Don't let the door...

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    Champion oxleymoron's Avatar
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    I would have thought that the lure of playing in the next lions tour in 2013 would help to retain current wallabies post rwc. Let's face it, the lions tour only really occurs once in a career (there are exceptions).
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Giteau knows he's not going to play against the lions, sharpie will probably retire from international rugby after the world cup, true to his nature, giving the team time to get over his loss before the next cup. Bam will be named captain of the force and sharpie might do a farewell year or two depending upon his body.

    Most of the others are too young to be thinking of moving, having another world cup in their sights (the oldest backs will be 30 which, while old, isn't impossible) I also noticed this article talks about receiving offers, not considering offers.......I would suspect the core of our team receives offers from Europe every five minutes, and agents will collect them and take them to their client. That doesn't mean they'll be used for anything other than to drive up a market price.

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    C'mon the

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    I would have thought Quade Cooper would have been at the top of any speculative list..

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    He's only just signed though.....how long for, I'm not sure.

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    C'mon the

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