Dumped Tuqiri sends Sailor SOS message - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dumped Tuqiri sends Sailor SOS message

By David Barbeler 02/07/2009 10:02:56 AM Comments (0)

Lote Tuqiri has sent his close friend and former teammate Wendell Sailor a text message for advice following the shock termination of his lucrative Australian Rugby Union (ARU) contract.

Tuqiri will launch immediate legal action against the ARU, retaining solicitor Mr Mark O'Brien and Mr Tony Marr, senior counsel, to commence proceedings.

Speaking to ABC radio on Thursday morning, Sailor, who was also dumped by the ARU in 2006, said he had received several phone calls from concerned mates and a text from Tuqiri himself.

"I've tried to contact him as a mate ... (I received a) text message last night saying he would give me a call tomorrow (Thursday) to have a chat," Sailor said.

"I've been in contact with him over the last month because I know with someone like Lote, of his standard and ability, not to be playing at the highest level would frustrate him."

Sailor said he was "shellshocked" at the decision, as Tuqiri had been one of the crowd favourites for the NSW Waratahs and the Wallabies.

"I suppose when you see a player wanting to take legal action against an employer, it's pretty serious," he said.

"Obviously they couldn't sort things out.

"I'm just dumbfounded because he's been a wonderful ambassador for rugby league and rugby union."

Sailor had his lucrative contract ripped up by the ARU in 2006 and was suspended for two years after he was found guilty of taking cocaine.

In a further twist to the saga, it was a boozy night with Sailor in Cape Town in 2005 before an early-morning drinking session with prop Matt Dunning in 2007 that attracted Tuqiri a stern warning from ARU boss John O'Neill, consequently earning him the nickname "Last Chance Lote".

Sailor said it was hard to give advice to Tuqiri until he knew the full details of the matter.

"I know as much as you guys do," he said.

"I think mine was self-inflicted so I had to pay a price.

"All I'd say (to Tuqiri) is: 'You are 29, stay strong, you know who your family and friends are through a pretty tough time'."

Sailor said Tuqiri would still have plenty of options available to him.

"People have got to understand this ... Lote Tuqiri is 29, he's at the peak of his powers, he could go to Japan rugby, French rugby, go back to the NRL," he said.

"I tell you now, I would love to see Lote in a Dragons jersey."

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