There’s one burning question from the rugby faithful which I keep answering: “Who is Rugby AU chairman Cameron Clyne?”
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Wild horses couldn’t tear them apart; the Faingaa twins leave the Brumbies seeing Red. Saia Faingaa has chosen his brother Anthony over continuing with the Brumbies.
The Faingaa brothers developed through the Brumbies Academy, representing Australia at junior levels and this season both won Super 14 starts. However they will walk away from their home club and join the Queensland Reds.
The Brumbies were keen to finalise a contract with talented young hooker Saia Faingaa this past week. However Saia was determined to continue to play along side his brother and asked the Brumbies to deal with both contracts collectively. The Brumbies management sought to negotiate with the brothers separately and later confirmed that they weren’t in a position to offer Anthony a new contract, as their centre stocks were full.
The brothers’ agent Peter Apolakiatis had invited expressions of interest from other super 14 clubs in recent weeks and the Queensland Reds seized the opportunity, agreeing to sign both Faingaa brothers for 2009 and 2010. Reds coach Phil Mooney would be pleased, as he has coached the Faingaa brothers before in the successful Australian Under 19s, which won the 2006 World Cup in Dubai. Anthony sealed Australia’s 17-13 Under 19 final win over New Zealand with a late drop goal and was later nominated for the International Rugby Board’s Under 19 Player of the Year. He also represented the Australian Under 21’s in 2006.
Ironically the Faingaa twins’ outcome is a consequence of the actions of one of the other Brumbies brother duo, in particular Tyrone Smith. Tyrone’s strong performance at inside centre this season has put pressure on the contract of fellow inside centre specialist Anthony Faingaa, who unfortunately suffered a season-ending knee injury in round two leaving him unable to further prove his worth on the field.
For some announcements, there is never a good time to be told, but the Brumbies team must have been disheartened after hearing that the popular Faingaa boys were leaving. Additionally it would have been extremely disappointing for the younger Brumbies, as the Faingaa twins have been central to the pool of new talented signings with the Brumbies in recent years. One wonders how much the bad news played a factor in the Brumbies lack lustre performance against the Chiefs last Friday night.
There is no doubt that the popular Faingaa brothers, who were local ACT Rugby Juniors, will be missed by the Brumbies team and community next year.
The Brumbies management have made a tough decision this week and have lost a possible next generation Wallaby in Saia Faingaa. Former Wallaby hooker Michael Foley said: “Saia, in his rookie Super 14 season, could be part of the Australian squad later this year”. Hopefully Saia will return home to the Brumbies in the future.
The Brumbies have confirmed their priority interest is now to sign Reds and Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore. ACT Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan believes the club will have the “best forward pack in Australia” if it wins the battle for Stephen Moore’s signature next season.
There still may be a lot more to unfold with player movements around the Australian Super 14 provinces this season.