Top 14 club Bayonne have announced they have convinced Izaia Perese to pack in his dalliance with rugby league and instead given union another go. The 23-year-old Australian is currently in his second year with NRL’s Brisbane-based Broncos.
Capped for Australia at Under-20s level, Perese made 17 Super Rugby appearances for the Reds, scoring four tries across his seasons with the Queensland franchise.
That form resulted in the Broncos tempting Perese to cross-codes, but he has fallen out of favour with the Broncos after he was stood down in February following an arrest for drugs possession.
Perese pleaded guilty to supplying a dangerous drug at Albion Creek last September but has now had a probation order for drug charges removed by a court to allow him to travel to France and take up the lucrative Top 14 offer.
In a statement on the club website, Bayonne said: “After the (lockdown easing) announcements by the government Thursday which make us think that we will soon be able to find you at Jean-Dauger, you will meet a new player there: Izaia Perese.
“Still very young (23 years old), solid (1.8m, 91kgs), he was a star of Australian rugby league with the Brisbane Broncos after playing XV and international U20s.
“He will reinforce the backline since he plays in midfield. He is also the last reinforcement of our team for next season.”
Before he switched to the Broncos in what was described by Australian media as a shock move, Perese had been singled out on a number of occasions by then Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who included him in a training capacity in a number of squads.
“He’s killing it,” the Australian coach said at the time. “He’s in a very competitive position. I think he’s a guy who can defend in the midfield as well. He’s got that genuine pace; he’s got a great mindset and a great attitude. He’s coming along very nicely.”
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