Wallabies coach Dave Rennie hasn’t given up on winning the tug-of-war for teen sensation Joseph Suaalii.
The 17-year-old is weighing up whether to accept a lucrative offer from Rugby Australia or remain with NRL club South Sydney.
Rennie, who has been doing all he can to convince the sporting super talent to stick with rugby union, concedes if it comes to do finances there’s little RA can do to stop Suaalii joining Souths.
He is however hopeful more than money will drive the decision.
‘Clearly he’s an amazing talent and an impressive young man,” said Rennie, who has pursuing Suaalii for months.
“I got to sit down with him and his family in January, he’s very mature and very aspirational.
“We can’t compete, financially, with what’s being offered by Souths and if he decides to take that route, well good on him. It’s going to be great for him and his family and he’s got a pretty good mentor there.
“But it’s important we’re in those conversations.
“I honestly believe that the great thing about our game is he could go to the Olympics next year and could go to a Commonwealth Games. He could play for the Wallabies and travel the world in what is a genuinely global game.”
One the key challenges Rennie is facing during his tenure is keeping young talent in the 15-man game as cash-strapped RA deal with more financially robust codes chasing talent.
“What we’re trying to do is provide a pathway. Give them an understanding that if they work hard, here’s the opportunities,” he said.
“We’re talking to kids that are actually playing our game. So they clearly love the game.
“We’re going to lose some because financially we can’t compete but it’s important that we were in those conversations and we’ve got to create relationships with those kids.
“Some we’ll keep and if we lose some hopefully we might get them back in a couple of years’ time.”