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'We wish Eddie the best of luck': NRL boss mocks Rugby Australia's poaching plans

By AAP
NRL boss Peter V'landys and Roosters star Joseph Suaalii (Photos by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images and Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Peter V’landys has poked fun at rugby union after incoming Wallabies coach Eddie Jones’ NRL poaching ambitions kick-started the latest chapter of Australia’s football code wars.

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Jones’ shock return as Dave Rennie’s replacement on Monday was swiftly followed by a declaration of interest in targeting some of the NRL’s rising stars, with a home World Cup in 2027 the dangling carrot.

There is also a British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2025.

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Sacked by England in December, Rugby Australia swooped to return Jones to the seat he held when Australia reached the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney.

NRL converts Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuqiri played in that campaign and Jones has his eye on a trio of unnamed former Australian schoolboys rugby talents as he attempts to repeat history.

Joseph Sua’ali’i has already been earmarked by RA as a target and is off contract next year, while Manly flyer Tolu Koula (2024) and Parramatta centre Will Penisini (2023) are also potential Wallabies outside backs in the sights of RA.

Cameron Murray, Pat Carrigan, Murray Tualagi and Kalyn Ponga are other NRL stars with a rugby pedigree.

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But Australian Rugby League Commission chairman V’landys said any player who does cross codes “can take their mobile phone with them on the field because they’ve got 20 minutes to tweet, Instagram or TikTok” in a dig at the ball-in-play time disparities between the two codes.

“We wish Eddie the best of luck, and I hope he’s got his mobile phone with him so he can fill that 30 minutes as well,” V’landys told AAP.

RA chairman Hamish McLennan told AAP that Jones’ high-profile appointment would also get the country talking about rugby again, but V’landys doesn’t feel threatened.

“I’m not concerned, because why would you want to leave the greatest game of all for another game,” V’landys told AAP.

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“There is more to it than money. There is also enjoyment and the quality.

“We’ve got the greatest game of all …. people will always want to play the greatest game of all.”

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