Wallabies’ director of rugby Scott Johnson has admitted that Rugby Australia did all they could to secure the services of Samu Kerevi.
The 25-year-old centre has starred for both club and country but turned down a contract extension with both and will move to Japan following the conclusion of the World Cup later this year.
“Let’s get it straight, the offer was good. I’ve seen the offer that Samu was given and it was a very, very good offer that would have put him in the higher echelons of our country,” he said.
The decision to leave by the 23-capped Aussie is also due to off-field matters and Johnson knows that it is complicated.
“It’s not perfect for him and for us and we understand there are issues away from the game for him. It opens the door for other players who we may be talking about in a different light in 12 months’ time,” he added.
Kerevi becomes that latest player to head overseas to play their trade, and he is well below the 60-cap requirement needed for such players to represent the Wallabies, but Johnson stands by the law.
“I think the key component is that we have a responsibility to make sure our competition is the best in the world. It’s great to be able to control the player – their strength and conditioning and their skill development. We understand there are challenges but at the moment we think there’s a nice mix of rewarding longevity,” he finished.
However, former-Wallaby captain Stirling Mortlock, who was also at the function, believes that Rugby Australia needs a serious change, or it will face massive problems in the future.
“It’s a massive challenge and if we don’t get our house in order in four years’ time, we will have to change the eligibility rule because you might have a lot of players not in Super Rugby. It baffles me that we still haven’t got our house in order with everyone pulling in the same direction. We’ve got still different factions in different areas looking after their own backyard and that’s what’s stifling us. The New Zealand model is all about creating great All Blacks and everyone club and player knows that, but it doesn’t happen in this country,” he said.
Wallabies fans are certainly not pleased by the loss of Kerevi and Rugby Australia will need to do something soon to ensure that key players stay with them in the future.
All Black Star to Turn Out for Grassroots Side
An All Blacks legend is set to play for a grassroots outfit in order to gain match fitness ahead of the Rugby World Cup
Williams has been unfortunate with injuries during this years Super Rugby campaign, limiting him to only three starts, making his last appearance on June 15th following 10 weeks out after undergoing knee surgery.
With such a small amount of rugby under his belt in recent months The New Zealand Herald are reporting that his solution is to play for grassroots side Ponsonby.
It is believed that he has already spoken to and agreed terms to play with former All Black Kevin Senio and sevens star Rocky Khan, who are involved with the club.
Williams is a contracted Counties player and had to seek clearance in order to turn out for Ponsonby, which has apparently been granted.
If he is selected, Williams could face Grammar TEC this weekend and Eden the following week in what would be vital game time for the 33-year-old.
Ponsonby has produced the most All Blacks of any grassroots team, including recent stars Rieko and Akira Ioane.
Williams will be desperate to prove himself with the All Blacks starting their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina on July 21st and will be hoping to make it to Japan in the long run as New Zealand seek their third World Cup in a row.
Ireland Star Returns from Injury Lay-Off
Ireland have been handed a massive boost ahead of their World Cup preparations as a key man has confirmed he is fit and ready to go
However, while speaking at a launch of for Energia’s new official energy partnership with Irish Rugby and being title sponsors to the All-Ireland League, the second rower confirmed he has been back training since last week.
“It’s great, I’d say if there was a game coming up, I’d probably be able to play. I’m not doing contact or mauling or anything. I’m just doing kind of linear running and stuff from side-to-side. If I had to play, I would be able to strap it up and be able to play,” he said.
He went on to discuss how the pre-season is working and how he will be raring to go within the next couple of weeks.
“The way pre-season is, we did a hard two-week block. We have a week next week where we still have to kind of train on our own and then we are back in. When we come back in for that week, I’m hell for leather doing everything then, so it’s grand. It could have been a lot worse than what it was,” he added.
Toner, who was unfortunate earlier in the year as he sustained a long-term ankle injury, and admitted he was worried that he would be missing for a long time once more initially but thankfully things weren’t as bad as he thought.
“To me it felt bad because I have never done my knee before. I felt a little bit of a pop, so I thought it was bad, but because I was able to walk off the pitch and put weight on it, they told me it wasn’t too bad. It was a grade-two medial. A lot of lads have done it and said it was grand and that I would be back in five or six weeks,” he finished.
Toner will certainly be on the plane to Japan as long as he can stay fit as Ireland head to the tournament looking to reach a first semi-final at a minimum.
Ferris Wary of Growing Number of Overseas Coaches
Former Ireland international Stephen Ferris is concerned about the lack of home-grown coaches in Ireland
He became the last piece of future Irish head coach Andy Farrell’s backroom staff, with Farrell set to take the reigns of Ireland head coach when the tournament in Japan concludes.
However, with Farrell and Catt in the Ireland camp and Stuart Lancaster and Graham Rowntree at Leinster and Munster respectively next season, all of England’s coaching group from the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be on Irish shores.
Ferris, who was talking on 2FM’s Game On, admitted that Catt’s appointment makes sense as Farrell prepares to become the main man.
“They probably scoured the market to see who’s out there and Mike Catt obviously has a good relationship with Andy Farrell who is going to become the main man with Ireland. I think it’s a good appointment. Mike Catt is a seasoned professional with 70-odd caps for England and a couple of World Cup finals, so he comes with great pedigree and I think the lads will warm to him nicely,” he said.
However, he also pointed out that he believes there are a bit too many English coaches in Ireland and questioned why there is such a lack of Irish coaches in the backroom staff of the provinces and national set-ups.
“Maybe slightly for me, there’s too much of an English feel around this Irish team at the minute. I think their coaches see teams that are on the up and Munster with the appointment of [Stephen] Larkham as well, he sees that there’s an opportunity there for them to come good. But for me it’s almost like, Jerry Flannery – gone, Felix Jones – gone,” he added.
Ferris ended by saying that he believes Mark McCall could potentially make a future Ireland head coach and also congratulated the English coaches on taking their chances in Ireland.
“I think Mark McCall is the only one that’s really sticking his hand up to say that when Andy Farrell leaves or moves on or gets sacked, you never know, that he might put his hand up to be the next Irish coach. I think fair play to the lads, they’ve seen opportunities, the English guys and they’re going to give it their all and you can’t doubt what they’re going to bring. Look at Lancaster and what he’s brought, Johnny Sexton loves working under him. But fair play to the lads and hopefully they bring a lot to Irish rugby over the coming years,” he finished.
As well as Mike Catt, Farrell has also brought in Leinster man John Fogarty as the national side’s new scrum coach while Simon Easterby and Richie Murphy will continue as forwards specialist and kicking and skills coaches respectively.
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