Pete Samu released by New Zealand to play for Wallabies
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) The New Zealand and Australian rugby unions have reached an agreement which will allow backrower Pete Samu to join the Wallabies squad for its June test series against Ireland.
The unions had previously been at loggerheads over the selection of Samu, who was born in Melbourne but plays Super Rugby for the Christchurch-based Crusaders.
Samu has signed to play for the ACT Brumbies next season but is currently contracted to play for Tasman later this year in New Zealand’s national provincial championship.
New Zealand is reported to have sought financial compensation from Australia to release Samu from his provincial contract. The unions reached a solution Sunday but the terms of their agreement have not been released.
Australian Rugby chief executive Raelene Castle thanked New Zealand Rugby ”for their consideration in releasing Peter for international duties. Our discussions were robust but fair and I’m pleased we’ve reached an agreement to allow Peter the opportunity to represent his country.”
Last month, New Zealand agreed to release Hurricanes backrower Brad Shields to play for England in its test series against South Africa. But it indicated it did so reluctantly because, though Shields has an English-born mother, he will not have played in England before being selected for the England team.
New Zealand fears a raid by other countries on leading players who may have dual eligibility.
Samu will return to New Zealand after the June series to play the remainder of the Super Rugby season with the Crusaders.