Wallaby Jed Holloway said a pursuit of Sydney Roosters star Joseph Suaalii makes sense if it helps Australia win the 2027 World Cup.
Yet another story declaring Suaalii to be top of a RA hit list of NRL players appeared on Tuesday, with suggestions he would be offered a massive figure to code hop.
RA are so cash strapped they are missing key staff and are sending an amateur women’s team to the World Cup next month, but they are hoping an influx of private equity finds will help them fund raids on rugby league talent.
A rugby junior who played at the prestigious King’s School and made the GPS 1st XV in 2018, the winger has immediately looked the part in his first NRL season, not only consistently starting for the Roosters but scoring 16 tries in 23 matches. He recently said playing at a Rugby World Cup was a dream.
“If it is going to make our team better, I think would be great,” Holloway told reporters on Tuesday.
“He’s quite a talented person, obviously he’s killing it in rugby league and he is quite young.
“We do have really good guys here in the team who you see – Marika (Koroibete) on the weekend, Tommy Wright, Andrew Kellaway, Jordie Petaia all coming through as well.
“We’ve got a huge amount of depth but if it’s going to make us be better and help win a World Cup, then why not?”
Media reports say Suaalii would be offered $10 million over five years to sign with RA, as the main attraction on a shortlist of NRL stars to be chased in the lead-up to the 2027 World Cup.
Australia has not won the tournament since 1999, and are among the lesser fancies for next year’s edition in France.
Asked what sales pitch he’d give to the teen if that wasn’t enough, Holloway encouraged Suaalii to consider the lifestyle the code-switch might allow.
“The beauty about rugby is you get to do what you love and travel the world,” he said.
“It’s genuinely the beauty of the game, you can go basically wherever in the world and take your pair of boots with you and play rugby.”
Of more pressing concern to the Wallabies is their second Test against the Springboks this weekend and fixing line out issues.
Heading to Sydney’s new Allianz Stadium, the hosts will need to prove individual brilliance didn’t paper over the cracks in their 25-17 win against the Springboks, with a set-piece lift needed after winning just seven of their 13 lineouts in the Adelaide Test.
Discipline could also be a factor in Saturday’s rematch, the Wallabies conceding 16 penalties compared to the Springboks’ nine as they had to dig deep at times to hold their opponents out.
Holloway said a game review had highlighted plenty of plays from Adelaide that could be exploited if they don’t tidy up.
“We’re hugely disappointed in the way our lineout functioned, but we’ve been working hard on that … we reviewed quite hard and we will be better for that,” he said.
“(And) our work ethic … working harder off the ball, there’s opportunities we didn’t capitalise on out there.
“Our preparation has been around building consistency because it’s something we haven’t done yet, put together back-to-back performances.
“It’s purely being better and being ready for them to also be better as well.”
They’ll also need to address their woeful record of inconsistency, with just one multiple-game win streak since coach Dave Rennie took over in 2019.
That will certainly be vital if they’re to pinch the Championship title for the first time since 2015, with Rennie’s men level on nine points with Argentina halfway through the tournament.
But they’ve got every reason to start dreaming of making some history, with Holloway pointing to emerging squad depth as driving the side to high standards.
A star-studded bench at the weekend featured guns including impact props Taniela Tupou and Scott Sio, hulking lock Darcy Swain and flyer Andrew Kellaway, Holloway praising their collective attitude as influential.
“Everyone in this squad wants to represent their country and wear that gold jersey on the weekend,” he said.
“The competition within the squad is really driving us to be better.
“The best thing about it … guys are disappointed when the team is announced, but they all park that, it’s all about focusing on making that 23 better on gameday.
“There aren’t egos here, once that decision is made everyone’s focusing on getting better … definitely the competition and the return of guys is really driving that amongst our group.”
Rugby – The Roar