French rugby chasing NRL stars: Hunt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

French rugby chasing NRL stars: Hunt

14/05/2010 11:19:04 AM Comments (0)

Code jumper Karmichael Hunt has warned that the NRL may have hung onto Johnathan Thurston but French rugby union clubs are still looking to poach Australian league players.

And he believes the stars of salary cap scandal-hit Melbourne Storm - Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith - could demand million dollar rugby contracts "easily".

Former Australian rugby league Test fullback Hunt is in France preparing for the European Cup final with his club Biarritz as his six months stint in rugby union draws to an end before his new career with the AFL's Gold Coast club.

Biarritz was the club which attempted to lure Kangaroos halfback Thurston, who rejected the offer this week for a new NRL deal with North Queensland Cowboys.

Hunt said while it was great news for the NRL that Thurston decided to stay in league, the French were still on the look out to lure players with lucrative deals.

"They've posed the question of who would make a transition to rugby union from rugby league," Hunt told Sky Sports radio on Friday.

"I think with the amount of money that's in the game over here, they're always on the look out for talent.

"Rugby league or Australian sport in general has got that in bucket-loads, so they're always on the look out... that's for sure."

Hunt said the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal and the possibility of picking up one of their high priced stars had caused excitement.

"It comes down to whether the rugby clubs are willing to pay those untried players that amount of money, but Sonny Bill (Williams) got it, so I can't see why those four names couldn't demand a price like that," he said.

Hunt said he had not missed playing rugby league and had "struck the jackpot" in France, living in a beautiful and friendly part of the world.

"Having had such a successful time over here now, if I hadn't had the AFL deal on the table and there was an opportunity for me to come play rugby (union in France) I'd definitely stay on," he said.

Hunt's Biarritz team plays in the European Cup final against fellow French team Toulouse on May 22.

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