Waratahs see back of Burke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs see back of Burke

By Adrian Warren 16/05/2004 06:47:56 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs mentor Ewen McKenzie says the decision to release Wallaby great Matt Burke is the hardest of his coaching career.

Pressed for a decision on his future, McKenzie told the 31-year-old former captain at the weekend that NSW would not exercise its option to retain him.

Burke's release came as Mat Rogers signed on for a further three years, joining captain Chris Whitaker and vice-captain Phil Waugh in re-committing to the Waratahs.

The only person with more than 100 appearances for the Waratahs, Burke is expected to use upcoming matches for the Barbarians in Europe to showcase himself for northern hemisphere club offers.

The Australian Rugby Union is likely to give him an early release from his contract in recognition of his long service which includes 68 Tests and yielded 851 points.

For his state, Burke made a record contribution of over 1000 points in more than a decade of unstinting service and he uncomplainingly switched from fullback to centre following Rogers' arrival from rugby league in 2002.

Acknowledging that Burke was one of the greats of NSW and Australian rugby, first-year head coach McKenzie said: "It will be probably the hardest decision I make this year I'd say, very difficult.

"I had to make a decision moving forward and I've got to look a bit longer term, so on that basis we've made a call."

Burke's exit ruled out one potential solution to the Waratahs' big problem - the five eighth position, which he'd offered to fill last season before injury saw Tim Donnelly and Shaun Berne beat him to it.

McKenzie wouldn't be drawn on what he'd do with the five eighth spot, but the versatile Rogers wasn't interested in it.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news