NZR still contemplating Pete Samu's clearance
Wellington - New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have revealed that it is still yet
to grant clearance for Crusaders backrow Pete Samu to represent the Wallabies.
The Brumbies announced on Tuesday that Samu, who was born in
Melbourne, will join them from next year and the 26-year-old is expected to be
named in the Australian squad on Wednesday.
But Samu is still a NZR and Crusaders contracted player
until the end of the current Super Rugby season.
And NZR's head of professional rugby, Chris Lendrum, said a
request from Rugby Australia to release the player for next month's series
against Ireland was still being considered.
"We have received a request from Rugby Australia and
we're in discussions, but nothing has been decided yet," Lendrum said in a
statement on Tuesday.
Samu's situation has similarities to that of Hurricanes
flanker Brad Shields, who was eventually given clearance by NZ Rugby to
represent England in their three-Test series against the Springboks in South
Shields, who was a long-serving and well-respected player at
both Mitre 10 Cup and Super Rugby level in New Zealand, was eventually
permitted to his wish to play for England.
But NZ Rugby insisted it could have prevented Shields' move
as the 27-year-old had committed to New Zealand for the length of his contract,
which expired at the end of this year's Super Rugby season.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew said the terms of the contract
influences over World Rugby's Regulation 9, which governs player release for
Shields was granted a "special exception" by the
NZR who raised concerns at the precedent it might be setting.
Samu's situation is very different to Shields'. The
Crusaders flanker played club rugby in Sydney before moving to New Zealand
provincial outfit Tasman in 2014.
He is currently in his third season with the Crusaders.