New twist in Samu saga
NEWS: New Zealand and Australia have finally reached an agreement in the ugly public spat over the status of loose forward Peter Samu.
Samu will join the Wallabies squad ahead of this week’s opening Test against Ireland in Brisbane, after the New Zealand Rugby Union, finally, agreed to release the flank.
“I want to thank the New Zealand Rugby Union for their consideration in releasing Peter for international duties,” Australia Rugby Union Chief Executive Raelene Castle said in a statement – after a deal between the two governing bodies ended a trans-Tasman tug-of-war over the Crusaders back row forward.
“Our discussions were robust, but fair, and I’m pleased we’ve reached an agreement to allow Peter the opportunity to represent his country.”
Neither country has officially revealed New Zealand’s stipulations to allow Samu to join the Wallabies, but it is believed they had sought NZ$50,000 (US$35,000) to release the 26-year-old Australian-born player from his Crusaders contract.
Earlier reports suggested the ARU baulked at the asking price – said to be NZ$50,000.
The flank will join Michael Cheika’s squad ahead of the first of three Tests against Ireland before completing his Super Rugby duties for the Crusaders this season.
Samu has already signed for the Brumbies for next year.
Samu originally played for Randwick in Sydney, before switching to Tasman in the New Zealand provincial championship from where he was spotted by the Crusaders and earned a Super Rugby contract in 2016.
He will also forgo his final season with Tasman and will link up with the Canberra Vikings in Australia’s National Rugby Championship.
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Earlier, Wallaby greats George Gregan and Stephen Hoiles expressed their thoughts on the Samu saga.
“I think if Pete Samu was New Zealand born, New Zealand raised, then it would be fair for them to say we need to be compensated,” Hoiles said of his former Randwick teammate on Fox Sports Australia.
“But Pete Samu is born and raised in Melbourne, he’s played all of his club rugby in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. He’s an Australian, he wants to play for Australia.
“You hear all this stuff about we need to see Australian rugby strong again – well this is their chance to try and help us.”
“Without a doubt it’s tacky.”
Gregan shared Hoiles’ sentiment, stating “you’re actually denying a player from doing the ultimate in his sport, which is representing his country, the Wallabies.”
“They’ve passed up on the opportunity to make him play for the All Blacks, they said ‘no, he’s not in our top 30 plus players.
“But there’s a real opportunity for him to play international rugby here in this country, he played all his rugby here.”
Unfortunately, while Samu joins the Wallabies they will be without another player as Melbourne Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese returns to Melbourne Sunday after suffering a suspected ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against the Blues last night.
The 21-year old will have further scans on his left knee in Melbourne this week with a replacement player for the Wallabies squad will be confirmed Monday.