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The Joe Schmidt update on the uncertain future of Carter Gordon

By AAP
Wallabies boss Joe Schmidt at a media briefing on Wednesday (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt doesn’t want to lose Rugby World Cup playmaker Carter Gordon to the NRL, but he is buoyed by the talent emerging in rugby’s ranks.

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With the future of Gordon’s Super Rugby Pacific side, the Melbourne Rebels, in major doubt, the 23-year-old has reportedly had preliminary talks with the Gold Coast Titans about a code-switch.

Schmidt said he hadn’t spoken to Gordon recently but hoped the player would continue to fight for the vacant Wallabies five-eighth jersey, with the first Test of the year against Wales in Sydney on July 6.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

“I had a chat with Carter much earlier in the season and one of the things is that Carter is competing for a Wallaby spot, just like a number of the other 10s,” Schmidt said.

“There are a number of 10s – Tom Lynagh did really well last week, Ben Donaldson has been going well and Noah Lolesio is the most consistent of the kickers, certainly at goal.

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“I’d love Carter to stay and to be in the mix for the Wallabies, but if he doesn’t then I’m excited about working with whoever we do select in that position.”

NSW Waratahs winger Mark Nawaqanitawase has already signed with the Sydney Roosters, while fellow World Cup player Jordan Petaia, of the Queensland Reds, is also believed to be considering the NRL. His club and international teammate Hunter Paisami is reportedly mulling a move to play rugby in England.

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Schmidt said that while the sport didn’t want to lose players to rival codes or nations, others would always be looking for an opportunity. The national coach was in the stands in Brisbane to watch 20-year-old Reds speedster Tim Ryan score a hat-trick of tries in his Super Rugby Pacific starting debut last round.

“We definitely want people to stay here and be part of the Wallabies set-up,” Schmidt said. “But I love it when someone is unavailable and suddenly we uncover a kid. (Ryan) didn’t just score those tries, he finished them superbly and particularly the third one, his footwork.

“If we do lose people, we are disappointed and we don’t want that to happen but if we do, my mindset is, ‘Right, well let’s get this guy and let’s build a combination and go forward’.”

If the cash-strapped Rebels are cut from the competition at the end of the season it would leave a number of Test players – including prop Taniela Tupou and lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – scrambling for new homes.

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Schmidt said it was frustrating that a decision by Rugby Australia on the Rebels’ future was taking so long, but that there was a lot to the process after the club entered administration in January.

Creditors will vote on Friday on whether to accept a Melbourne Rebels’ plan for survival, as recommended last week by an administrators’ report. Even if the plan is backed, RA could still decide not to hand the Rebels back their competition licence.

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