The Australian Rugby Union today welcomed former Rugby League and AFL star Karmichael Hunt to Australia’s Super Rugby ranks, after signing with the Queensland Reds on a three year contract.
Hunt, who has signed a deal through until the end of 2017, was formally announced at the Queensland Reds Gala Ball alongside James O’Connor as two new marquee signings for the Queensland-based club next season.
Hunt follows Israel Folau to become the second athlete to play in three professional football codes in Australia – Rugby League, AFL and Rugby Union.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said Hunt’s move has been supported by the ARU and will provide plenty of interest for fans.
“We’re delighted that an athlete of Karmichael’s calibre has chosen to play Rugby – a game he’s familiar with and a game that we’re confident will allow him to excite fans with his abilities on the field and profile off it,” Mr Pulver said.
“We’ve seen Israel Folau adapt quickly to Rugby and we expect Karmichael to do the same.
“His immediate focus will be on gaining selection for the Queensland Reds, and we look forward to tracking his progress throughout next season and beyond.”
Hunt’s professional football career includes winning a National Rugby League Premiership with the Brisbane Broncos and representing Queensland in State of Origin and Australia in 2006, before making his AFL debut for the Gold Coast Suns in 2011.
Hunt’s involvement in Rugby Union includes playing at Anglican Church Grammar School and also as a member of the Queensland Schools representative Rugby team in 2002.
He also played a season of Rugby for Biarritz in the French Top 14 competition, where he scored a try in the Heineken Cup Final.
O’Connor returns to Australian Rugby with a desire to add to his 44 Qantas Wallabies Test caps after a short stint in European Rugby.
Mr Pulver said Australian Rugby welcomes O’Connor back to play domestically, following his decision to return to his home State of Queensland to re-start his Super Rugby career.
“We are pleased James has made the decision to return to Rugby in Australia. He is a player who has a huge amount of potential on the field and I’m sure he’s excited about the opportunity being presented to him by the Queensland Reds,” he said.