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Rugby Australia Snap Up Fijian NRL Star

Rugby Australia have confirmed the signing of one of the most exciting Rugby League players on the planet

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(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds have announced the signing of Fijian NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu from Melbourne Storm.

The flying-winger has put pen to paper on a two-year deal which comes into effect in 2021, which will see him join the Reds in Super Rugby and switch back to Rugby Union. 

Speaking on the massive coup Rugby Australia’s director of rugby Scott Johnson is delighted that Vunivalu has signed up and is looking forward to what he can bring to the table. 

“This is a very good signing for Australian Rugby and the Reds. Suliasi was a standout schoolboy rugby player. He is an elite finisher with a lot of big-game experience for a young man and will have an immediate impact for the Reds in 2021 and put himself right in the frame for higher honours. He is one player we have been looking at very closely this year with the skillset we are looking for in the outside backs. He has been working in a great environment at the Storm and has chosen a future in rugby, so it is a great result for the game,” he said. 

The 24-year-old has been playing for Storm since 2016, and played in consecutive Grand Finals between 2016 and 2018, scoring a record-breaking number of tries in his first two seasons and currently having 72 tries in 94 appearances for the club. 

He will hope to add to that total over his final campaign with the club, while on the international stage he has 12 tries in only eight appearances for Fiji. 

He also played in New Zealand when he was younger for the Auckland Blues, before making the move to Storm and league at 18. 

It is a major boost for both the Super Rugby franchise and the Wallabies and if he can bring his league form to the union stage it could be something special.

International

Rugby Australia Want Rugby League Youngster

Rugby Australia are looking into the possibility of tempting one of Rugby League’s hottest prospects to come to Rugby Union

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Rugby Australia are attempting to persuade Rugby League youngster Joseph Suaalii to switch codes following talks with incoming Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie.

The 16-year-old currently plays Rugby League for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and is contracted to the side until 2021, but following a series of impressive displays Rugby Australia are set to enter a bidding war for his services. 

Rennie was in Australia to fulfill media duties last week for the first time since being announced as head coach. 

The current Glasgow Warriors head coach visited all four Super Rugby franchises during his trip, but it is understood that he also held talks with Suaalii following recommendation from Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson. 

It is believed that he is the only player that is not a Wallaby already or Super Rugby player that Rennie visited for talks. 

The NRL club are thought to be trying to upgrade and extend the youngsters contract already in order to fend off any approaches from Rugby Australia. 

However, it is understood that Rennie and Rugby Australia are using the possibility of a spot in the Wallabies’ 2023 Rugby World Cup squad as a bonus to Suaalii if he were to sign with them according to reports. 

The South Sydney Rabbitohs will be all too aware that last year Rugby Australia managed to pry away another Rugby League prospect in Suliasi Vunivalu who has agreed to sign the Reds come next season, showing the temptation to switch codes.

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International

Jones Looking into Coaching Code Switch

England head coach Eddie Jones has been a part of some of the biggest teams in Rugby Union history, but it seems as though he might want to make a name for himself in Rugby League now according to reports

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England head coach Eddie Jones is eyeing a coaching career in Rugby League at some point in the future according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

Jones, who guided England to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan earlier this month, only to fall at the final hurdle 32-12 to South Africa, is apparently hoping to change codes, moving from union to league, and wants to take over the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

The Australian rugby league side are currently under the management of Wayne Bennent, former star in the sport. However, Jones would like to replace him in his position once his time in the role comes to an end the report claims. 

“The noise around Eddie Jones had him in line for the Wallabies coaching job — but the truth is there is another gig that he really covets. NRL clubs take note, Jones would like a crack at rugby league at some point in his career. Even though he has one of the highest-profile and highest-paying positions in world rugby, there is a part of Jones that wants to test himself. As far as tests go, taking on an NRL job is a big one. From what I can gather, he has told mates that taking over from Wayne Bennett when he finishes at Souths appeals. He has a soft spot for the club. It’s doubtful the Rabbitohs would be aware of his ambitions because he has only shared his league thoughts with a select few,” the piece in the Herald reads. 

Having been a part of international set-ups such as Australia, South Africa, Japan and now England it would be a huge call if he decided to move as it would see him leave one of the biggest jobs in union to shift to a less luxurious club-based job in league. 

However, it is thought that Jones wants a new challenge and this could be it. His current contract with the English national side is set to expire come 2021, with many expecting him to be offered an extension following their World Cup campaign and lead them to the 2023 edition of the tournament, but this urge for a new challenge could make that a little more complicated. 

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Toronto Wolfpack List 10 Rugby Union Stars on Wishlist for Rugby League Team

Rugby league side Toronto Wolfpack have confirmed they are looking at ten big names from rugby union to join their club

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Canadian rugby league team Toronto Wolfpack have confirmed that Sonny Bill Williams is not the only star rugby union signature they are looking into getting.

Wolfpack owner David Argyle has already spoken of his desire to bring All Black Sonny Bill to the club but has now confirmed that he is only one of ten names on his list.

His goal is to make the sport a success in Canada with promotion to the Super League the ultimate prize. He believes that to make that dream a reality the team must bring in top quality players but admits that director of rugby Brian Noble and head coach Brian McDermott have the final say on who comes or goes.

“The two Brians are speaking with all of the agents to look at who becomes available for next year. I don’t choose who is recruited, but my view is that it works well for the club to have some of the top names of rugby playing for the Wolfpack. I personally would love to see Sonny Bill Williams in a Toronto Wolfpack shirt. Obviously, it comes down to what both Brians say and how it works out and, of course, it comes down to what Sonny Bill says,” he said.

Argyle is aiming for players that will have achieved all they can come the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year and is excited by the challenge lying ahead in trying to sign players.

“But there are ten really big superstar names out there and we would love to have at least one of those in the squad for next year. There are a few other rugby union players who, after the World Cup, will probably have achieved everything they can in union and might want to come back or jump across to rugby league. I think that’s going to be really exciting, if we are able to secure one or more of those players,” he added.

With Sonny Bill the only name on the list to be revealed yet, we are going to have to wait and see if he heads for Canadian shores and who might join him on his potential journey.

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