Hill heads to Europe for Rebels recruits - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hill heads to Europe for Rebels recruits

By David Beniuk 24/01/2010 04:36:38 PM Comments (0)

The Melbourne Rebels have intensified their worldwide search for players, with assistant coach Damien Hill flying out for a whirlwind tour of Europe which is expected to include a meeting with former NRL star Mark Gasnier.

New Melbourne recruitment boss Greg Harris, until April last year the Western Force's chief executive, said Hill flew out on Sunday to gauge interest from Europe-based players, many of whom are in the final weeks of working on new deals.

The Rebels can sign up to 10 overseas players for their inaugural Super rugby season next year.

Former league international Gasnier, who plays for Paris club Stade Francais, has said he will make a decision on his future early in the year.

"Anybody who we think has the capacity to play is within our thoughts at the moment," Harris told AAP on Sunday.

"Without a doubt, Mark Gasnier's somebody who's a great athlete and he's played the game over in France so if he has a desire to come back to Australia then he'd be someone you'd naturally want to consider."

Harris, whose official title is general manager of football operations, is the latest piece of the Rebels picture to be completed after the appointments of chief executive Brian Waldron, who officially starts next month, head coach Rod Macqueen and Hill.

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly will continue as an advisor on player recruitment, Harris said.

Harris, who endured the Firepower debacle and a spate of off-field crises at the Force, said he had given an undertaking to his former employees to remove himself from any negotiations with players at the WA franchise.

"Frankly, I haven't taken any information with me, that was contractual," he said.

"I spent time over there building that place up, the last thing I want to be personally a party to is things that would be detrimental to the Western Force.

"There's a trust situation between them and myself.

"That doesn't mean that the Melbourne Rebels aren't going to be looking at players from the Western Force ... but I've given them an undertaking that information that's confidential won't be released in my position as it is at the moment.

"There are other people in the organisation who can conduct conversations with any person in Western Australia but it won't be me."

The collapse of Firepower's third party agreements with Force players like Matt Giteau will also affect how Harris recruits for privately-owned Melbourne, despite no rule limiting what they can pay their overseas stable.

"The reason why people like (Melbourne chairman) Harold Mitchell have got a dollar is because they haven't made decisions that aren't wise," he said.

"They're not in this to sort of throw money up against the wall.

"Anybody can come in and say there's an unlimited budget and just throw money, I've seen that where I was before and those things can fall over.

"We've got to be pretty wary of that.

"We do have the capacity to look after people financially but ... let's say the days of Firepower are gone and I've been through that."

Meanwhile, the Rebels are hoping to strike a deal with ARU boss John O'Neill over a ban on signing Australian players before May 31.

"We've got to come forward with some reasonable arguments to hopefully get some exemptions to that or some variations to how it currently stands," Harris said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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