If the experiences are true that Taniela Tupou has been supplied a brand new contract price near $1 million per season, then Rugby Australia is likely to be approach too desperate to win some beneficial publicity.
It’s been a tricky couple of months for Australian rugby. The Israel Folau saga, the below-par performances of Australia’s Tremendous Rugby groups – with solely the Brumbies by way of to the finals – a rising checklist of skilled gamers saying their departures for abroad membership and continued poor crowds; there’s not a heap to have a good time.
And solely yesterday it was introduced that the proposed Nations Championship, that was set to reap a very good chunk of coin for cash-strapped RA, had been scrapped.
Plus there’s the continuing uncertainty over the brand new broadcast deal that may come into impact from 2021.
Foxtel may pull again on their non-core sports activities which may considerably jeopardise rugby’s earnings, whereas Japan, the USA and Fiji is likely to be added to a beefed-up Rugby Championship.
It hardly feels just like the time to be throwing large cash at a 23-year-old prop who has made a dozen or so Check appearances, most of which have come off the bench.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that RA need to maintain Tongan Thor in Australia till the top of 2023 on a stack of money believed to be between $800,000 and $1 million per season.
Michael Hooper’s five-year $6 million contract signed final 12 months was bagged by many as being too wealthy.
The criticism was unfair given Hooper is a tricky, constant and confirmed performer and the Wallabies captain. His high quality on the sphere and standing off it means he deserves to be one of many best-paid gamers in Australia.
Who is aware of what Tupou’s fellow Wallabies front-rowers Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa are getting paid?
Sio final month re-signed with RA and the Brumbies by way of to 2022 whereas Alaalatoa final 12 months re-signed till 2023.
Tupou’s potential is obvious to see however he hasn’t even cemented his place as a Wallabies starter, whereas Sio has racked up 55 Exams and Alaalatoa about 30 Wallabies caps.
You would perceive if Sio and Alaalatoa made a cellphone name to their managers yesterday questioning whether or not they negotiated laborious sufficient given the Tupou determine.
There are a bunch of huge names which are leaving Australian rugby after the World Cup, releasing up funds to direct in the direction of re-signings.
David Pocock (Panasonic Wild Knights) was within the top-tier of earners, if not the No.1. Samu Kerevi (Suntory Sungoliath) was an enormous loss.
Quade Cooper and Will Genia are reportedly each near confirming strikes to Japan with Kintetsu Liners and Bernard Foley is seemingly near linking with Kubota Spears.
Christian Leali’ifano (NTT Communications Shining Arcs), Rory Arnold (Toulouse), Nick Phipps, Adam Coleman, Sekope Kepu, Curtis Rona (all London Irish), Sefa Naivalu (Stade Francais), Caleb Timu (Montpellier), Scott Higginbotham (Bordeaux), Duncan Paia’aua (Toulon) and Sam Carter (Ulster) are additionally on the transfer.
Folau’s axing has additionally meant there’s more cash than anticipated within the accounts, though that might flip big-time if Folau wins his authorized battle over his sacking. The dispute reportedly has the potential to value RA as a lot as $10 million in damages.
An analogous $800,000 a season deal was believed to be supplied to Kerevi, which was trumped by a reported $1.2 million per season in Japan.
Tupou isn’t on the identical tier as Kerevi on the subject of the affect he can have on a sport, so giving him the same supply appears ludicrous.
However even when the Rugby Australia budgets present there’s money to splash, they shouldn’t be making Tupou the highest-paid prop in Australia rugby historical past, in addition to one of many top-paid present Wallabies.
Tupou is but to have that breakthrough season the place he’s not only a dependable scrummager and getting by way of his work, however he’s making sufficient tackle-busting runs that might doubtlessly justify a bumper contract.
It could take a standout prop to warrant the reported contract supply to Tupou. Might tough-as-teak Eire props Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong demand that sort of cash? Owen Franks?
Given the big variety of Aussie gamers departing Australia later this 12 months, it appears RA are intent on taking a stance and stopping the haemorrhaging. Is it as a result of they’re frightened of shedding one other participant who like Kerevi is coming into his finest years?
Tupou’s potential is simple, however that type of cash might be higher utilized in making an attempt occasions for the governing physique.
One of many few rays of positivity for Australian rugby on the minute is from the continuing under-20s World Championship in Argentina, the place the Junior Wallabies tackle France within the closing this weekend.
They’ve been immense. It’s been written that just about all of that squad have scored a Tremendous Rugby deal for subsequent season, but when not, they need to be shored up.
What about having one other go at getting Sean McMahon again from Japan? What about making an attempt to get five-eighth Zack Holmes again to Australia after some fruitful seasons in French rugby, with Foley, Cooper and Leali’ifano leaving a giant hole within the playmaking stakes?
Did RA make a large enough supply to Will Skelton earlier than Saracens re-signed him? Kurtley Beale can be but to re-sign with Australian rugby.
With the Tupou determine – though speculative – being made public, there’ll in all probability be just a few gamers pumping up their asking value in seasons to come back if a prop who isn’t even a Wallabies starter can get wherever close to $1 million a season.