According to the Australian media, the Melbourne Rebels are ready to make a move for their first foreigner in Manu Vatuvei.
The ARU announced last week that the Rebels have permission to sign up to 10 foreign players to join the franchise and according to the Sunday Star-Times , Warriors’ New Zealand rugby league star Vatuvei is their first foreign target.
The wing, who has scored 11 tries in 17 rugby league Tests and 58 tries in 94 NRL appearances for the Warriors, has attracted interest from Japanese and French rugby union teams and American NFL franchises. But the Rebels are considered the first team who are set to make a formal bid.
‘It is definitely a genuine interest from Melbourne and they have money to spend. Manu would seriously consider it if the offer was right,’ a well-placed source said.
However, Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said Vatuvei is likely to remain at the rugby league franchise.
‘He loves the club and we love him and I’ve had quite a bit of dialogue with his agent recently and nothing concerning has come from that,’ Scurrah said. ‘I am sure [Melbourne Rebels CEO] Brian Waldron will field bigger offers to do other things than we would be able to make to Vatuvei, but he does really enjoy it where he is and I expect he wouldn’t leave lightly – but we certainly don’t take him for granted.’
Vatuvei’s agent Peter Brown refused to comment to the Australian media.
Meanwhile, newly appointed head coach Rod Macqueen has confirmed former Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock could sign for the Rebels.
‘Stirling has indicated he could be interested in Melbourne and it’s important to note we’re building a new team and Stirling would certainly fit into that,’ Macqueen told rugbyheaven.com.au.