Waratahs searching for Lote replacement - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs searching for Lote replacement

By Adrian Warren 06/07/2009 06:32:29 PM Comments (0)

Overseas players, including some internationals, are queuing up to replace Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri at the Waratahs after his sacking by the Australian Rugby Union.

NSW coach Chris Hickey has three spots to fill on his roster for next year, with two reserved for backs and another for a second row forward.

Hickey admitted Tuqiri's sacking left a big hole in the Waratahs' squad.

While Hickey said his initial preference was to contract someone from within Australia, he thought that now might not be possible.

He said NSW had already received a number of inquiries from overseas players.

"It's been a mixture. We've had some international players who have expressed an interest," Hickey said at a Waratahs' press conference on Monday.

"We've also had some other players who might be just on the verge of (representing) their own country and aren't quite making it there, who sense there may be an opportunity to play with the Waratahs.

"It's mostly the southern hemisphere where the interest has come. The northern hemisphere contract dealing is basically finished, so most of the interest that we've had has come from New Zealand and South Africa."

While Wallabies star Drew Mitchell was originally recruited as a fullback, Hickey sad he could move to the wing to replace Tuqiri while the Waratahs were still waiting to hear back from Queensland and Wallabies playmaker Berrick Barnes.

They also needed some overseas cover at lock.

"Most of the good locks in Australia are contracted at the moment ... we've had a number of inquiries from players overseas, particularly from New Zealand and South Africa," he said.

While Hickey again emphasised the possibility of legal action prevented him from talking in detail about the reasons behind Tuqiri's dismissal, he backed the Australian Rugby Union's handling of the situation.

"I think the ARU has handled the whole process very professionally," Hickey said.

NSW announced the re-signing on Monday of three forwards, Test prop Sekope Kepu, young hooker Damien Fitzpatrick and flanker Ben Mowen.

According to Mowen, the Waratahs were "a little shocked" by the termination of Tuqiri's contact, but had sent him messages of support.

Mowen said Tuqiri had been a huge part of the Waratahs' squad.

"He brings a lot to the team and particularly the young guys in helping them settle in," Mowen said.

"I know he's played a huge role in helping (young back) Kurtley (Beale) develop his game, so he will be dearly missed."

One former team mate Mowen isn't missing, is flanker Rocky Elsom, who opted to sign with the Brumbies rather than the Waratahs.

Mowen said he was "not at all" disappointed to learn Elsom had joined the Brumbies.

"I went out and had a beer, it was good," Mowen joked.

"He (Elsom) is obviously a great asset to have back in Australia, but as long as he's not here, it's perfect."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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