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Rugby Australia 'disappointed' but not concerned by Nawaqanitawase's defection

By AAP
Mark Nawaqanitawase of Australia looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Australia and Georgia at Stade de France on September 09, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Flying Wallabies winger Mark Nawaqanitawase will switch codes to join the NRL’s Sydney Roosters from 2025, Rugby Australia have confirmed.

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Nawaqanitawase, who has won 11 caps for Australia since making his debut on last year’s tour of Europe, will join the Roosters on a two-year deal.

The defection of one of their brightest rising stars is a big loss for Rugby Australia (RA) at a time when the code is under increasing scrutiny following a hugely disappointing World Cup campaign.

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“We are disappointed, Mark has been a strong player over the last 12 months,” RA chief executive Phil Waugh said in a statement on Thursday.

“However, the outside backs are a position of strength for us, with great depth coming through.

“We are confident we are well-stocked with talented wingers for the future.”

Despite the player not moving to rugby league until the season after next, RA appeared to close the door on him appearing for the Wallabies in the interim.

“Rugby Australia wishes to thank Nawaqanitawase for his efforts in his 11 Test appearances, as well as for the Waratahs and the Australia Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games,” the organisation said in a statement.

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The silver lining is that the winger’s two-year contract with the Roosters offers the possibility of a return to rugby union ahead of the World Cup in Australia in 2027.

His code-switch will prevent him from facing the British and Irish Lions in 2025.

Nawaqanitawase’s move follows months of back and forth between RA and the Roosters, who were furious when Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii was wooed to rugby union by recently ousted RA chairman Hamish McLennan.

RA also tried to sign Roosters back-rower Angus Crichton but that move fell over after the Origin forward’s camp became increasingly frustrated with the governing body’s negotiating tactics.

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Red and White Dynamight 2 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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