Brumbies & Australia likely to lose Mortlock

Australian rugby could lose the services of Rugby World Cup captain Stirling Mortlock who has been offered an amazing $3.75 million to move to Japan and possibly finish his career there.

Weekend newspaper reports say that an unnamed Japanese club is is attempting to land Mortlock with a three-year, $1.25 million-a-season deal.

On top of that three European clubs have shown interest in the Brumbies and Australia centre. The ARU are said to be aware of the deals being offered but chief negotiator Pat Howard says that they cannot match the offers.

“A guy of Stirling’s calibre will always get interest from abroad,” Howard told the Sunday Telegraph. “We’re aware of that and we know we can’t compete with what’s on offer so Stirling has a few considerations to weigh up.

“The process is ongoing, I spoke to his agent last week and the situation looks pretty positive from the meetings we’ve had so far.”

Asked when the ARU planned to secure Mortlock, Howard said: “I can’t put a time frame on things. We’ll take as long as we need to.”

Mortlock who comes off contract later this year said three weeks ago that he wants to stay in Australia and help bring through the next generation of Australian rugby talent but the Japanese deal is so large that should Mortlock stay in Australia he would effectively be writing off more than $1 million over three years.

Mortlock’s agent, Nick Johnston has declined to comment on the matter but he has confirmed the interest from Japan and European clubs.

A source close to Mortlock said that he is facing a a gut-wrenching decision in the coming months.

“The offer is extraordinary,” the source said. “I don’t know if Stirling will take it, but the ARU won’t get close to the money these clubs are throwing at him.”


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