It is possible that New Zealand Rugby will be magnanimous and clear the way for back-rower Pete Samu to take a leave from the Canterbury Crusaders and play Test football for the Wallabies against Ireland in June.
Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika is anxious to have Samu available, but they have to sweat out NZR’s whim and it would be rational to believe that even with the dominance the Kiwis have over the Aussies, helping an opponent is not something that is lightly viewed.
Earlier reports indicated that Samu had received the appropriate clearance, NZR came along lately and said, “We have received a request from Rugby Australia and we’re in discussions, but nothing has been decided yet.” That, according to NZR professional rugby head Chris Lendrum.
Samu, following the completion of the 2018 Super Rugby league competition, is off to play for the ACT Brumbies. They have been looking to get him away from New Zealand for two years, but the Melbourne native made the decision to play for Canterbury.
It is doubtful, regardless of how good a player Samu is, that he could be the massive boost for the Brumbies and the Wallabies that some predictions claim, but the immediate beneficiary in 2019 will be the Brumbies and Coach Dan McKellar, who told reporters, “Pete ticks all of the boxes and he’s a good fit for us moving forward. There’s talk of him being available for the Wallabies and that sort of thing. He’s a good player, he’s coming from a good programme at the Crusaders and will come with good knowledge.”
A good fit, perhaps, but too good and Samu will be off to England or France at the earliest opportunity.
Samu’s versatility will make him a valuable commodity wherever he goes. He is big, fast, and strong and can play all three loose forward positions.
Samu has been living out of a suitcase for years now, playing in Sydney, Tasmania and most recently, New Zealand.
The Wallabies’ first Test with Ireland is on June 9 and observers are keen to learn Cheika’s selections later today.