McMeniman, Ioane weigh up rugby futures - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McMeniman, Ioane weigh up rugby futures

By Jim Morton 06/05/2009 05:13:04 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies Hugh McMeniman and Digby Ioane are being shopped around as a package deal in Japan but both deny they've decided to leave Australia.

Both players said they were "shocked" and "surprised" by a newspaper report which stated McMeniman was poised to sign a lucrative contract while there were strong rumours Queensland teammate Ioane would follow him to Japan.

McMeniman admits the Reds pair are keen to stay together and the possible defection of one could have a major impact on the other's future as Japanese clubs are considering offering them big-money package deals.

It's understood former Wallabies and Queensland coach Eddie Jones' Suntory club is one of several Japanese clubs interested in making a double play for them.

McMeniman and Ioane are currently negotiating with the Australian Rugby Union who are keen to lock the duo into new deals through to the 2011 World Cup.

The battling 13th-placed Reds are particularly desperate to keep their two most destructive players who have advised the Queensland Rugby Union they will stay at Ballymore if they remain in Australia.

McMeniman and Ioane both told AAP on Wednesday they faced tough decisions but would not weigh up any offers until after the Super 14.

Queensland coach Phil Mooney played down the chances of his key men signing in Japan, saying the challenge would not be sufficient to entice two relatively young Test players who are on track to play key roles at the 2011 World Cup.

"Robbie Deans has made it apparent both guys are in his plans and it seems he's building something special there," Mooney said.

"When a coach of that stature says you're pretty important to me I reckon you'd listen and stay.

"Hugh has told us he has a genuine desire to play for Queensland, it hasn't been a flaky statement.

"Digby is on the cusp of becoming the Test No.13 going into the World Cup and is a highly competitive person who loves a challenge.

"He wouldn't get that challenge playing against blokes like me in Japan.

"It would be like Ricky Ponting playing warehouse cricket."

Ioane, who has been ruled out of Friday's match against the Crusaders with a shoulder injury, is personally dealing with the ARU after leaving his former agent and said he was not close to making a decision, labelling the report nothing more than a rumour.

"I was shocked to read that," said the four-Test outside back.

After being released from a Brisbane hospital following ankle surgery on Wednesday, McMeniman said he was yet to weigh up any offer and faced a "big, hard decision".

Not only does the injury-plagued lock-flanker want to add to his tally of 21 Tests, he's also keen to be a part of a Queensland revival and notch 50 caps for his state.

"Ideally it would be great to keep the team together for another year," he said.

"Even though there's been some disappointing results there's something good growing there in this team.

"Digby and I are close and we've been talking together. His decision will have an impact on what I do as well because he's one of my good mates."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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