Unwanted Wallabies hooker could sail overseas

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 11:49
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau said he may be forced to look for an overseas club after failing to attract a Super Rugby contract in Australia following the axing of Western Force.

Polota-Nau, the first-choice Wallabies hooker on the northern hemisphere tour which kicks off in Japan on Saturday, has found himself clubless after the Force fell victim to Super Rugby's downsizing to 15 teams.

Fellow Australia international Dane Haylett-Petty became the latest player to join the Force exodus to the Melbourne Rebels on Friday, where he will team up with his brother, Ross, and former Force coach David Wessels.

But the four remaining Australian Super Rugby franchises have secured most of their hooker spots for next season, leaving Polota-Nau out in the cold.

"I've got no idea really," Polota-Nau, 32-year-old, told reporters in Japan, when asked about his plans for next season.

"There have been lots of chats about relocating Super Rugby franchises, but to be honest I haven't had any offers.

"I'll just have to go back to my whiteboard and start afresh.

"I think I missed out on the window there [with overseas offers], because obviously I was hanging on to the Force announcement, which came late, so we'll just have to wait and see."

The 78-Test hooker is still eligible to play for the Wallabies even if he moves overseas. Under Wallabies rules, only players with 60 caps or more can be selected if they are based abroad.

Polota-Nau has not ruled out retirement, but he said he is keen to play at least until the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"Absolutely," he said when asked if 2019 remained a target. "Getting the opportunity to give it a good consistent start has given me that hunger again.

"I guess you've got to take it year by year because the body's not agreeing with me."

His teammate Haylett-Petty, 28-year-old, has established himself as one of Australia's premier outside backs and finished this year as the Force's leader for try assists, average run metres per game and line-break assists.

"I think we're building a very competitive group at the Rebels, so I know that Dave's going to get the best out of me here," he said.

Agence France-Presse