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ARU boss Bill Pulver 'not unhappy' about losing stars

Looking ahead: Kurtley Beale.

Looking ahead: Kurtley Beale. Photo: Brendan Esposito

ARU boss Bill Pulver says he is "not dissatisfied" with the departures of several high-profile players this year. 

Amid speculation 42-Test Wallaby Kurtley Beale could be on the cusp of signing with NRL club the Bulldogs, Pulver sought to play down the looming loss of Beale's former Test teammates Kane Douglas, Nick Cummins and Ben Mowen.

"It is a fact of life that Japan and France have a lot of money to throw at players, but actually we're quietly pleased with the support that we've had for our elite players playing in Australia," he said. 

"Yes, we've lost a couple, but every year we've lost a couple or more, so we're not unhappy with the outcome. Clearly there are a couple of players we would have liked to have kept and from a strategic development perspective that's something we want to keep a very careful eye on. But we're not dissatisfied with the outcome this year."

Beale is expected to announce his plans for next year in coming weeks, as the Waratahs navigate the knockout stages of this year's Super Rugby season. Pulver said he would not try to second-guess Beale's decision but hoped he would stay. 

"We're in a dialogue right now with Kurtley and his manager, I'm not going to try to second-guess the outcome, I can just tell you that I think he's had a wonderful year, played some great great rugby and we'd love to keep him," he said.

Pulver also responded to fierce criticism from Western Force coach Michael Foley, who said the ARU had been "caught with its pants down" over the departure of Force and Wallabies winger Cummins halfway through his contract.

"Well, actually [Foley] didn't say that, he said that Australian rugby was caught with its pants down, and I'm not too sure I even agree with that remark," Pulver said. 

"Nick Cummins has been quite vocal about his reasons for going, it's clear that there's a substantial financial game for him, he has a truly unique set of family circumstances and we respect his judgment on that."

23 comments so far

  • Bill I don't know what planet you're on mate. To loose Nick Cummins was inept management I'm sorry to say. He has a massive following in South Africa, England , New Zealand and Australia. The "Honey Badger" is iconically the quintessential Australian and he plays great rugby as Michael Foley said. He'll be a massive loss to the Wallaby Brand. Wake up mate !

    Commenter
    RK
    Location
    Perth
    Date and time
    July 17, 2014, 1:46AM
    • Try Mars for a start, RK, as he hasn't been anywhere near reality for a few years now... Unlike the ABs, the Wallabies can ill-afford to lose any of their star players and not when they are desperate to win back the BlloodySlowCup from across the ditch.

      Commenter
      Akari
      Date and time
      July 17, 2014, 9:23AM
    • Sorry to say RK but with O'Connor returning, Tomane fit again and Speight becoming eligible I don't think Cummins is in the team. You can't pick a bloke based on populerity when there are better players available.

      Commenter
      James
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 17, 2014, 9:58AM
    • @ RK

      I feel your frustration but your aim is wide of the mark.

      I'm pretty sure the 'Badger made his decisions based on securing a financial guarantee for himself and his family. Those reasons are somewhat personal and were made with that in mind. The 'Badger may have felt that his decision, in regards his future with the Force and ARU, were better placed elsewhere. In this case Japan. He is, after all, a professional athlete and this is how he provides for his family. He is to be commended for his decision, as it wouldn't have been an easy one to make. And further, I would think, the ARU where well versed in the discussions leading up to this ultimate decision that 'Badger finally arrived at. Blind freddy will tell it's not great news for the code but this is the new professional landscape of the modern football player. Besides the ARU hasn't got deep pockets of gold at the moment, and this would also have been a mitigating factor in this situation. It's silly to think the ARU would wish a player of his high visible profile and talent to just up and leave.
      Admittingly, this appears very sad news for the supporters of the game, and even the 'Badger himself, but it is, hopefully, good news for the future of 'Badger and his extended family. I wish him well !

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      July 17, 2014, 10:13AM
    • I wouldn't call it in any way inept, it was just accepting reality. Bill Pulver may not be the one on another planet. With JOC returning and Speight becoming eligible, Cummins won't be in the starting lineup, save for injuries, and with players like Beale and McCabe able to cover multiple positions he is not a bench option. He is good for marketing the game, but without a starting spot, that is restricted. Japan has obviously offered him more than the ARU ever could, possibly because they could see his marketability in Japan, and the ARU did the only practical thing they could and said all the best.

      Commenter
      Graeme
      Date and time
      July 17, 2014, 10:23PM
  • Based on past behaviour Beale would be a perfect fit for league

    Commenter
    johnny-boy
    Date and time
    July 17, 2014, 7:41AM
    • He seems to be keeping his nose clean now that he's back with the Tah's. I wouldn't expect him to get the same kind of good influence from team mates etc if he were to go to the bulldogs. He really needs to look at more than just the money and think about what is going to be best for his personal development. I can see him spiraling out of control in the NRL.

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      July 17, 2014, 9:11AM
  • It's a small trickle compared to the amount of players the Kiwi's lose year over year, so not a lot to worry over.

    Beale won't go anywhere, pretty sure he does this every few years.

    Commenter
    Jackal
    Location
    Tasmania
    Date and time
    July 17, 2014, 7:55AM
    • I think this perceived issue that ARU is losing players is a bit of a beat-up. Sure there are some players who have decided that moves elsewhere are in their own interests but it's not as if the Wallaby 1st 15 have buggered off to play where-ever.
      If KB wants to be a Dog.... no, no that's not right. Rather, if KB wants to play League with the Dogs.... go for it. If he thinks that's his best option or suits his needs et al, then good for him. Don't get me wrong as I hope he stays with the Tahs and the Wallaby but if his heart ain't in it.... then go play League.

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      July 17, 2014, 8:22AM
      • And there's the difference... "if his heart ain't in it". I'd take a second rate team who shed a tear when they pull on the jersey than a team of SBW like mercenaries who have to ask their manager who they're playing for this week. I too would like Beale to stay, and would love to have kept Cummins, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Best to both.

        Commenter
        Harvey K-Tel
        Date and time
        July 17, 2014, 10:05AM

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