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McKenzie to ‘keep’ Rogers in Union

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Australian Rugby Union bosses, facing another barrage of reports about top flight players reportedly ready to move across to rival code Rugby League, put up brave faces on Monday.


NSW Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie met unsettled Wallaby utility back Mat Rogers on Monday and afterwards proclaimed himself “pretty confident” he’ll remain in Rugby Union next year.


According to a report on AAP McKenzie spoke to Rogers by phone in the morning and they met shortly after in the coach’s Sydney office.


Rogers has been the subject of intense speculation since he refused to rule out an early return to Rugby League next season on his return from the Wallaby tour to Europe last week.


Already signed to play for new NRL club Gold Coast Titans from 2008, following the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Rogers was disappointed with the opportunities he received to play his preferred fly-half position on the tour.


Wallaby coach John Connolly played Rogers at No.10 in the opening Tests against Wales and Italy, before moving veteran Steve Larkham back from inside centre to No.10 for the Ireland and Scotland Tests.


McKenzie said he did not spend much time discussing Rogers’s playing position with the Waratahs in next year’s Super 14 with him on Monday and noted that Rogers had “a range of issues away from the game”.


He said Rogers was going away for a few days and they would meet again next Tuesday.


* Meanwhile The Daily Telegraph revealed that Wallaby winger Mark Gerrard has revealed shock plans to follow Rogers and possibly Lote Tuqiri back to League.


Gerrard, 24, has already been linked to Manly Sea Eagles, a team he supported while growing up in Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches.


A star with Brumbies, Gerrard comes off contract with the ARU after next year’s World Cup in France.


Gerrard, who has played 18 rugby union Tests, played League through his juniors. His management company last night confirmed his interest in rugby league.


Gerrard, who has just returned from Australia’s European tour, switched to Union in 2000.


Asked would he move to League, Gerrard said: “I can’t say no, I can’t say yes.


“A couple of [NRL] clubs have been interested in the past as I started off my career with league.


“But I didn’t want to leave rugby because I still had a few things to achieve. It’s hard to say now.”


Gerrard said he would “definitely not” dismiss playing in the NRL.


“I’ll sit down early to mid-next year with my wife and weigh up things,” he said.


365 Digital

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