Tuqiri re-signs with ARU and Waratahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri re-signs with ARU and Waratahs

12/03/2007 06:41:04 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies star Lote Tuqiri has re-signed with the Australian Rugby Union and NSW Waratahs for five years.

There had been a tug-of-war between rugby union and rugby league for the winger's services, with the South Sydney NRL club tabling a substantial offer.

But the 27-year-old confirmed his commitment to the Waratahs and the Wallabies shortly before the 5pm (AEDT) deadline set by the ARU today.

The deal was thought to be worth about $5 million, topped up by third party sponsorships.

"The signing is great news for rugby and we're relieved to have it out of the way so Lote and the team can concentrate on the Stormers this weekend," NSW Rugby Union chief executive Fraser Neill said.

"We put our best foot forward from the outset and we stuck with that because that's what we tried to do with all our contracts.

"This is probably the biggest decision that someone like Lote will make in his life and for sportsmen it's not the same ... when you move from job to job and your career's a bit longer.

"This will set him up for life.

"I don't think anyone could doubt Lote's passion for the game."

Tuqiri and the ARU had recently been at loggerheads with the former Brisbane Broncos flyer frequently appearing in the media as he was attempting to deal with a number of suitors in union and league.

It eventually came down to NSW and the Rabbitohs.

The ARU earned Tuqiri's ire by making a public statement last week saying their current offer was reduced from that made in November.

ARU chief executive Gary Flowers said it was a relief to have Tuqiri's signature locked away.

"It has been almost five months of uncertainty and speculation and for the sake of both Lote and Australian Rugby, it is a good thing a deal has finally been reached," he said.

Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie admitted he was starting to feel the strain as the deadline approached.

"I've always been quietly confident but I was getting a little bit nervous there about ten to five," McKenzie said.

South Sydney co-owner Peter Holmes a Court said he'd left Monday morning's meeting with Tuqiri in a confident frame of mind, thinking the club had done enough with a package that would have seen the dual international pocket close to $1 million a year.

"We said from day one that we wanted to be there when he made a decision and I think we presented a compelling case to come to rugby league," Holmes a Court said.

"In the end he decided to go a different way."

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