Negotiations continue: The Brumbies hope to re-sign Christian Lealiifano. Photo: Jeffrey ChanBrumbies’ touching tribute to grieving teammate
The ACT Brumbies are being touted as championship contenders, but the NSW Waratahs fired a reminder of their rugby power when they landed one of the best bargain buys in Super Rugby history on Monday.
As the Brumbies target David Pocock and Christian Lealiifano as marquee re-signing targets, arch rivals the Waratahs managed to recruit 57-Test Wallaby Wycliff Palu on a $50,000 deal.
The significantly down-sized contract raised eyebrows in rugby circles just months after Palu was part of the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign.
The 33-year-old will be a force in Super Rugby this season if he can overcome the injury problems that have plagued his career, and he has set his sights on adding to his Test tally.
The Brumbies are putting together big-money offers for Lealiifano and Pocock as they compete with huge deals available abroad.
It is hoped Lealiifano is edging closer to a new deal in Canberra, while Pocock has started talks with the Brumbies after returning from his off-season break.
Palu has signed an extended player squad contract. EPS deals are usually reserved for players on the fringe, giving them a chance to train full-time on a minimum wage.
But after injury ruled Palu out of his season in Japan, he took an opportunity to rejoin the Waratahs.
“It’s not like I’m coming back to prove anything, I’m trying to be here to help out the side,” Palu said.
“I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. It’s not by bad luck or chance that I’m here again.”
The Brumbies have a squad full of international talent, including Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore, Pocock, Matt Toomua and Argentinian scrum-half Tomas Cubelli.
But lock Sam Carter said the Brumbies were refusing to look too far ahead and rely on a star-studded roster to get them wins.
“I know we’ve got a good squad on paper, but that doesn’t get the results. We have to tick all of the boxes and if we do that, we know results will fall our way,” Carter said.