Weepu offered new Hurricanes contract
July 7, 2011
Weepu is set to be back in Hurricanes colours next year © Getty Images
Piri Weepu is set to be back in Hurricanes colours next year after being offered a new contract by the Wellington-based franchise.
Weepu told reporters earlier today that although the Hurricanes had shown verbal interest, there had been nothing more concrete but his agent Bruce Sharrock has since confirmed a contract has been offered.
"That's the only thing we've been waiting for, is to have everything put on paper. But it's taking a while and, like I said, it's been pretty frustrating having to wait for so long," he told The Dominion Post. "If they're going to be making us feel like we're not [wanted] and having second thoughts, then obviously we want to look at the other options."
But Sharrock today said that a "timing issue" had confused matters. He said he had spoken to Weepu yesterday morning, with nothing definite to report. "Early in the evening I received confirmation from the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) on the Hurricanes' position and from the Wellington Rugby Union confirming their position," he told NZPA.
"I spoke to Piri at one o'clock this afternoon, only to find he'd spoken to the media. He's a much happier chappy now. We've been talking about it for some time -- discussions have been going on for weeks. I've told him they want him, and that's been the case."
Sharrock said Super Rugby franchises could negotiate contracts up to NZ$180,000 (£93,000) but anything over that went through the NZRU - "they're the gatekeeper in terms of the upper level of players".
"In this new environment, a lot of these contracts are multi-faceted. There's a lot of components that go into them, so pulling them together is not always a swift process."
Wellington rugby chief executive James Te Puni confirmed Weepu was offered a provincial union contract last night. "The Hurricanes confirmed last month with the New Zealand Rugby Union and Piri's representatives that we wished to contract him," he said in a statement today.
"We were informed yesterday afternoon that negotiations have now concluded between Piri's representatives and the NZRU with regards to his Hurricanes contract. As a result, Wellington offered him a provincial union contract last evening and are waiting to hear back from him regarding this."
There would be no further comment on the matter until it had reached its conclusion, he added.
The Hurricanes have had a tumultuous season, with new head coach Mark Hammett under fire for poor results and for opting not to renew the contracts of captain Andrew Hore and midfielder Ma'a Nonu.
Nonu earlier this month signed a two-year deal with the Blues after being told by the Hurricanes that he was surplus to requirements for next season two weeks before the end of the current campaign.
Hore will play his national provincial championship rugby with Taranaki but has yet to secure a Super rugby contract for next season. Hurricanes fly-half Aaron Cruden is expected to confirm his Super Rugby franchise next week, and has been linked with a possible move to the Chiefs.
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