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Tuqiri ready to move on with Leicester

04/11/2009 10:20:39 PM Comments (0)

Former Wallabies star Lote Tuqiri says he has cast aside the hurt of losing his Australian Rugby Union (ARU) contract as he prepares to represent English club Leicester.

The ARU cancelled Tuqiri's contract in July after a 67-Test career which yielded 31 tries.

"It did hurt initially, but you move on," Tuqiri told The Times.

"I was high profile back in Australia and I could have been smarter about one or two things. But that's in the past.

"Now I just want to get back to playing."

He is expected to make his debut for Leicester from the bench against South Africa on Friday after joining the English Premiership champions this week.

His signing coincided with the arrival of the Wallabies for their grand slam tour of the UK and Ireland, starting against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Tuqiri expects England five-eighth Jonny Wilkinson to be influential in that match.

"England have their injuries, but Australia have been rebuilding, too, and I think the kicking games will decide the result," Tuqiri said.

"Jonny will have a big say and (Australian five-eighth) Matty Giteau will need his radar on.

"Jonny hurts you from anywhere, as we've known in the past."

Despite Tuqiri's chequered disciplinary record, Leicester coach Richard Cockerill had no concerns.

"In our environment, there won't be any disciplinary issues," Cockerill said.

"There are some very individual people in our squad, but they toe the line.

"He'll have to work hard, turn up on time, do the right stuff. That's how we operate."

Tuqiri, who switched from league to union in 2002, has been linked with a move to Wests Tigers in a bid to relaunch his NRL career next season.

But Tuqiri said no deal had been reached.

"I have had no contact with Wests Tigers. This is pure speculation in the Australian press," Tuqiri told the Leicester Mercury.

"I haven't signed or done anything with Wests Tigers and I am certainly looking forward to being here until May."

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