All Wallabies secure from overseas poachers, says ARU chief
November 10, 1999

All the world champion Wallabies were contracted and safe from foreign predators and rugby league clubs, Australian Rugby Union general manager John O'Neill said Wednesday.
O'Neill said the ARU would retain all of their World Cup squad members, with the only exceptions being retiring front rowers Andrew Blades and Phil Kearns.

Another prop, Dan Crowley is intending to quit international rugby and concentrate on the Super 12 provincial tournament.

Flanker David Wilson said he was looking to play one more season of Test rugby while others, including captain and second rower John Eales and centre Tim Horan, have suggested they may not be around for the Wallabies' 2003 World Cup defence.

Other veteran members of the squad whose long term intentions are unclear include prop Richard Harry, hooker Michael Foley and three-quarter Jason Little.

"I think everyone is going to wait to see how they feel after next year," O'Neill said.

"Every player is secured at least for one year and mostly for two or three years."

O'Neill discarded the threat of cashed-up English clubs raiding the Australian playing ranks.

"After the joys of this victory I'm confident we won't be losing anyone," O'Neill said.

"The fact of the matter is that the last four years there's been a lot of talk and hype about English clubs.

"We haven't lost anyone to an English club that we wanted to retain. If a player has given good service to Australian rugby and is at the end of his career and wants to take up sort of a retirement job, that's something we

always would consider."

O'Neill said national coach Rod Macqueen had already extended his contract to stay in charge of the Wallabies.

The ARU boss said he was hopeful Australia would get a bigger share of the revenue from broadcasting rights shared between the South Africa, New Zealand and Australia unions, SANZAR.

Under the last agreement three years ago, Australia received 27.5 percent compared to New Zealand's 34.5 percent and South Africa's 38 percent.

O'Neill said Australia were looking for a fair share and felt one-third of the total revenue would be "more than fair and equitable".

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