Former league star eyes off Wallabies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Former league star eyes off Wallabies

29/06/2010 05:56:14 PM Comments (0)

Former rugby league international and new Melbourne Rebels recruit Luke Rooney has set his sights on representing the Wallabies after signing a two-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union.

Rooney, who has spent the past two years at French Top 14 club Toulon after leaving rugby league at the end of 2008, will link up with the Rebels for the expanded Super 15 competition next season.

Melbourne coach Rod Macqueen said the 27-year-old had the talent to break into the Wallabies' set-up, perhaps in time for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

"Anything's possible," Macqueen said on Tuesday.

"It's going to be up to him to put the work in but I certainly think he's got the ability.

"It's going to be important he plays well at the Rebels and if we go well there's a chance some of the players there will get picked."

Rooney, who played with England five-eighth Jonny Wilkinson and Sonny Bill Williams at Toulon, had been planning to join English club Worcester but their relegation from the premiership allowed the Rebels to pounce.

The former Penrith winger represented NSW at State of Origin level and made six Test appearances for the Kangaroos.

"I was keen to come home and I was keen to have a crack at Super Rugby because it's the best competition in the world and it's going to get better next year with the Rebels coming on board," said Rooney, who mostly played fullback during his time in France.

"It was an experience I really wanted to have and to see where it may take me.

"I'll be concentrating on playing my very best rugby for the Rebels.

"After that who knows?

"Of course it would be great to play for the Wallabies but I've got so much work to do before I can think of getting there.

"My focus when I return home will be getting myself ready for the Super Rugby season next year."

Macqueen said Rooney could play either on the wing, outside centre or fullback for the Rebels.

"He's certainly a very strong runner and he's good with the ball in the air," Macqueen said.

"There's a big advantage having bigger backs these days and he really fits into that category.

"We've got a new side we are putting together. No one's got a position at this stage.

"We really have to look and see what combinations work before we decide where anybody plays."

Macqueen said he was satisfied with the squad he had assembled, which includes Stirling Mortlock, Julian Huxley and England's Danny Cipriani.

The squad will assemble in late September before starting training in the first week of October.

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