ARU to Fifita: lose the dollar signs


The ARU says they'll only talk with rugby league Test star Andrew Fifita if he's willing to put rugby ahead of money.

Andrew Fifita. Picture:BEN RUSHTON

Andrew Fifita. Picture:BEN RUSHTON

Fifita had agreed to a four-year deal with Canterbury from 2015 reportedly worth $3.5 million. However, the Bulldogs issued a statement on Monday saying they would not proceed.

The club's about-turn comes after Fifita said he wished he'd chosen to go to rugby union because of all the flak he'd copped about leaving Cronulla.

However, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) are struggling financially and cannot afford to offer Fifita the dollars he would have received at the Bulldogs.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said earlier this month that though he once had a chat with Fifita about switching to rugby, he was only interested in players who chose the 15-man code for the right reasons - none of which included seven-figure salaries.

An ARU spokesman echoed McKenzie's comments on Monday, saying they had not had any recent discussions with Fifita.

"If Andrew wanted to talk to us, it would need to be for rugby reasons and not based on the earning capacity he could demand in league," the spokesman said.

"We won't have any further comment on this matter, and as far as we are aware we are not involved in his current or future plans."

Fifita has a history in rugby union, having represented NSW Country in junior ranks and earned a place in the Brumbies' development squad.

Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said his club would only be interested in Fifita if the ARU helped financially.

"Under the current salary conditions we wouldn't be able to afford him," he said.

Comment will be sought on Tuesday from NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, who is on tour in South Africa. AAP


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