Can the Tahs pip the mighty Reds?
If the Waratahs win this weekend, the Reds will need to take a good, long look at themselves and all their myth-building.PT4M46S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2et37 620 349 February 21, 2013
A hovering former Wallaby can do wonders for contract negotiations. Brumbies halfback Nic White has told the franchise he will re-sign after a long period stalling on a new deal. News of Luke Burgess's potential return to Australian shores, coupled with Brumbies coach Jake White's publicly expressed interest in the Toulouse No.9, probably played a part in that. As for the other off-contract halfback, Melbourne's Nick Phipps, there's been no movement. Phipps was the direct beneficiary of Burgess's move to France at the end of 2011 and we hear he is still holding out for a little something more.
KB on the way?
While we're on Melbourne it might be worth acknowledging Kurtley Beale's expert handling of questions about his future on Thursday. Beale said he was leaving that whole messy business up to his manager and was committed to giving his all for the Rebels. But speculation he is considering coming home to the Waratahs is true and there was no escaping the symbolism at the Rugby Union Players Association end-of-year lunch last December. Beale was seated at a table with his manager Isaac Moses, Moses's other star client Israel Folau and none other than Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen. The focus might have been on Izzy but KB's presence was not missed either.
Red and ripe
Which Super Rugby franchise is sniffing around Queensland's outside-backs? I know, I know, we're barely past round one, but with so many players coming off contract the negotiations are under way around the country. Among the tangle of feelers being put out, a few have found their way north of the border to the Reds, who have developed a deep and rich vein of back-line talent. Those in the crosshairs have been outside the match-day 22.
And speaking of Queensland, is Rob Simmons considering following in the footsteps of former teammate Scott Higginbotham? We hear there's keen interest in the Reds locks from Melbourne, just as off-contract Rebels locks Cadeyrn Neville and Hugh Pyle say they are "keeping their options open".
Best of luck this weekend to the Force, who are on a high-stakes reconnaissance mission to Port Elizabeth, where Super Rugby's newest franchise, the Southern Kings, is based. The Kings have named an all-South African starting XV with two internationals, Kiwis midfield back Hadleigh Parkes and Kenyan lock Daniel Adongo, on the bench. Their captain, Luke Watson, is a fascinating figure. His father Dan Watson rejected the chance to play for South Africa in order to take a stand against apartheid in the 1970s and Watson jnr followed in his father's footsteps in areas of social justice. He played well for the Stormers but was ignored by then Springboks coach Jake White when it came to assembling the 2007 World Cup squad, only to be forced on to White's squad through political intervention. You can imagine how that ended. It all makes for a fascinating game come April 5, when the Kings play the Brumbies in Canberra.