Highlanders

Hayman is ‘not for sale’

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The Otago Rugby Union (ORU) has denied newspaper reports that it was about to sell off its most prized asset, All Black prop Carl Hayman, to English Premier Division outfit Newcastle Falcons.

It was reported at the weekend that Hayman, who is contracted to the ORU but is nearing the end of his New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) deal, will become one of the highest-paid players in the world if he accepts a contract with the Falcons worth ‘350,000 (NZ$944,000) a year.

According to newspaper reports in New Zealand Hayman would join former Otago team-mate Joe McDonnell, former Wallabies fullback Matt Burke and English superstar Jonny Wilkinson at Newcastle.

However, the ORU denied they are about to “sell him off”.

“In this morning’s Otago Daily Times there was a front page article concerning Carl Hayman. We would like to inform you that the news headline that was in today’s paper was incorrect – The Otago Rugby Union is not selling a player for money,” the ORU said in a statement.

“We never have [sold a player for money] and there is no transfer system like this in place.

“As the article has stated, Carl has made no final decision, but if and when he does, we will support him whatever that decision is.

“We are disappointed that the Otago Daily Times has made a factually incorrect statement as their headline.”

Under the headline “Otago ‘selling’ Carl to Newcastle?“, the newspaper said Hayman is set to deliver a devastating blow to Otago rugby by signing with the Falcons.

According to the newspaper Hayman did not deny he could be moving to Newcastle.

But asked if he had signed a contract with the club, he said: “Not as yet.”

He said he did not know when he would be leaving Otago to head for England, and would not confirm if it would be after this year’s World Cup.

“When I know, you’ll know,” he told the newspaper.

Hayman is contracted to Otago until the end of the 2009 season. To go to England at the end of the year, he would need to negotiate his way out of the provincial contract, which he said was “a complicated legal process”.

However, Otago and Highlanders chief executive Russell Gray said the fact Hayman had not re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union beyond this year effectively made him a free agent.

“If you’re not signed by the NZRU, the PU provincial union contract is essentially worthless,” Gray said.

“I know Carl has had a number of offers and they have been very substantial. He’s a real high-end commodity on the player market.”

Gray said he was surprised the NZRU had not re-signed Hayman in October last year, when the prop agreed to terms with Otago.

The Highlanders and Otago would have no ill feelings towards Hayman if he decided to leave, Gray said.

“It will obviously be a great shame for New Zealand and Otago rugby, but Carl has given a fair bit to us over the years.”

 

365 Digital

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