Bennett 'elated' to have Tuqiri back - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett 'elated' to have Tuqiri back

By Wayne Heming 25/03/2010 07:47:44 PM Comments (0)

While superstar halfback Johnathan Thurston continues to keep fans guessing about a reported switch to rugby union, Wayne Bennett is "elated" by Lote Tuqiri's rugby league homecoming.

With French clubs supposedly circling following a relaxation of import rules in France's premier Top 14 competition, speculation has increased Thurston could be lured away from league by huge overseas dollars.

The Cowboys have made the Queensland and Australia No.7 a long-term offer and say they have a contingency plan should he choose to go the same way as Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers, Tuqiri and Mark Gasnier before him.

Tuqiri, who played 99 games under Bennett at the Broncos and was part of his 2000 premiership side, was lured to rugby union in 2003.

He proved an instant success, scoring a memorable try for the Wallabies in the World Cup final the same year.

"I'm absolutely elated he's back," Bennett told AAP on Thursday.

"I was very disappointed when he left and I said so at the time and gave my reasons.

"Certain people said we'd find another Lote Tuqiri but we haven't found another Lote Tuqiri.

"He has a great presence about him and I'm thrilled he is back."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga shares Bennett's excitement with the Fijian-born winger already back in the Origin frame after just two games for the Wests Tigers.

"Lote can fill any position in the backline whether it be centre, fullback or wing, he's got a bit of versatility about him," said Meninga this week.

"He's still got an aura about him and he is definitely in our thoughts."

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