Thursday’s rugby news has Horwill on-board with the possible JOC signing, the Waratahs involved in a takeover bid, the Reds apparently chasing Karmichael Hunt and Steffon Armitage contemplating a French switch.
Horwill trusts Red’s management
Captain James Horwill has expressed his faith in the Red’s management, saying that he is sure that if former Wallaby James O’Connor is coming to Queensland, the recruitment team will make sure that it is for the right reasons. Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael has refused to confirm the rumours that the 23-year-old has already signed a two-year deal, reiterating that the team will wait until the end of their disappointing Super Rugby season before announcing any additions to the squad.
“I think anyone who comes here will come for the right reasons and fit into our culture,” Horwill said. “I’m sure if Richard [Graham] and Jim didn’t see that in any individual, then they wouldn’t go down that path.”
Waratahs in takeover bid
Former ARU director Jon Collins has been revealed as the third party interested in a private equity takeover of Super Rugby table-toppers the Waratahs. Among the declining revenue throughout Australian rugby, ARU boss Bill Pulver has expressed his openness to private investment. “When you look at every elite sporting competition around the world, virtually all of them have private equity involvement,” Pulver said last month.
Collins will have to overcome rival groups led by former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer and Pet Resorts founder David Levy. Despite the fact that the Waratahs have won five games in a row to sit atop the competition table, the season has still been a commercial dissapointment, with the franchise posting a loss for 2013.
Hunt’s best fit at Reds
Along with the chase of James O’Connor, negotiations are also said to be ongoing between the Reds and code hopper Karmichael Hunt, who looms as a full-back option with Aidan Toua signing with French club Agen and youngster Jonah Placid heading to the Melbourne Rebels.
Hunt has already displayed his rugby talents during a winning run at French rugby club Biarritz in 2009-10. At age 27, but with 11 years of professional football of various codes under his belt, Hunt could opt for a quick stint in Australian Rugby in order to then capitalise on the Japanese/French rugby boom at the back-end of his career.
Armitage possibly joining French World Cup effort
Toulon’s star back-rower Steffon Armitage is contemplating switching his allegiance to France for next year’s World Cup after being denied a run at England due to their exclusion of foreign-based players. Armitage may benefit from a loophole in the IRB’s Olympic Sevens qualifying regulations where certain ‘capped’ players can swap countries for another where citizenship is held.
South Africa hooker Schalk Brits questioned England’s approach after losing to Toulon in the Heineken Cup final. “If you want to win a World Cup, you need your best guys,” he said. “South Africa has continued to pick overseas guys and it’s the right thing to do.”