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Welsh regions baulk at So'oialo's wage demands
ESPN Staff
August 2, 2013
All Blacks No.8 Rodney So'oialo takes the ball forward, Wales v New Zealand, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 22, 2008
Rodney So'oialo carries forward for the All Blacks © PA Photos

The Scarlets and the Blues' interest in ex-All Black Rodney So'oialo is cooling, according to reports in the Welsh press.

Wales Online reports the No.8, who is currently running out in Japan, has demanded a huge contract for a switch to either of the Welsh regions. And the website claims sources at the Blues have told them So'oialo's asking price is too high.

ESPNscrum understands the Scarlets were the front-runners for So'oialo's signature and while their assistant coach coach Mark Jones admits the ex-All Black was one of their targets, it looks unlikely they will be able to match his salary demands as things stand.

"He's a player we looked at when he became available to us," Jones told Wales Online. "We pursued that, did our homework and tried to find out as much as we could about the individual. That's ongoing. We are just seeing what else is there but we know what his capabilities are.

"We are still in the mix for all quality players. I don't want to rule anyone out at the moment. We are looking for a No.8 who will fit the Scarlets' brand of rugby in terms of his skill set. He will need to get the ball away from the base of the scrum and he will need to dominate tactics. We also want an aggressive ball-carrier who can take us over the advantage line."

Jones admits there is money available, but only for the right player.

"It's just about finding out what's available and try to make sure it gels with the group," he added. "The type of individual is important as well because whether it's a wing, prop, hooker or No.8 he needs to have a good personality to fit in with the culture of the group. The person is as important as the player.

"Recruitment is ongoing. We are trying to balance up our needs in terms of where we need to prioritise and fill some voids. There's money available, but myself, Simon (Easterby) and Danny (Wilson) spend it like it's our own. If the player is not right, I'd rather play a young, developing Scarlets player."

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