Brumbies announce Stephen Moore departure

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Qantas Wallabies captain Stephen Moore will not be at the Brumbies after the 2016 season, according to CEO Michael Jones.

The ACT franchise released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying that Moore would be heading back to the Queensland Reds from 2017.

Queensland Reds CEO Jim Carmichael responded to the Brumbies' announcement with a statement on Thursday night.

Carmichael expressed his surprise about the Brumbies, particularly the stance of CEO Michael Jones.

“I’m surprised to read comments from the ACT Brumbies about a player that is contracted to the Australian Rugby Union, as the agreed protocols between the ARU and the Super Rugby provinces is that there would be a simultaneous tripartite media release in these situations,” he said.

“ I'm particularly surprised that the Brumbies CEO - Michael Jones - seems to have undermined the current Wallabies captain by suggesting he is leaving the Brumbies to join another Australian franchise over money.

“Any Australian player who has a national contract with the ARU, quite appropriately, is negotiated by them and the player’s province of choice.

“All Australian Super Rugby provinces must abide by the ARU’s national contracting rules, to ensure that no team can pay more than another when it’s a nationally contracted player.

”The player then has the right to join the team of his choosing."

While stopping short of discussing any possible deal between the Reds and Moore, Carmichael said he believed Moore was staying in Australian Rugby.

“From our perspective, we believe that Stephen has rejected overseas offers to play out his career in Australia and remain a proud Wallaby.”

Moore has not confirmed any details about his domestic or International future since captaining the Wallabies to a Rugby World Cup final berth and it is believed that discussions are still ongoing.

Jones said the club had worked to retain the captain and expressed their frustration over how dealings have been handled.

“Stephen Larkham and I worked extremely hard to create a deal that was acceptable to Moore and his agent,” he said.

“We were given a deadline and moved heaven and earth to satisfy that deadline including late night calls to South Africa where Moore was holidaying.

"Following those negotiations, a very generous long-term offer was first agreed by his agent and was submitted to Moore late last Thursday.

“This offer met a number of unique demands including a deadline that was imposed onto us by them."

Jones said he had spoken to Moore about a possible deal and was surprised by what he called a change of heart.

“After speaking with Stephen personally, he spoke passionately about wanting to remain a Brumby and pleaded with us to come up with an offer to meet his demands and counter offers from Europe,” he said.

"He clearly expressed the desire to stay in Canberra, wanted to be a Brumby and to extend his career through to the next Rugby World Cup and ultimately finish his career here.

"The discussions with myself and coaching staff left us in no doubt and with a clear impression that his long-term future would be with the Brumbies if we met the demands we were given.

“We met every one of those demands. So we were surprised and disappointed to find out he has agreed to join the Reds late last night.”

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham said the search for a possible replacement for their captain would not be rushed.

The 102-Test hooker started his Super Rugby career in Queensland before joining the Brumbies in 2009.

He is the most-capped hooker in Wallabies history and the only player in that position to captain the side at the World Cup.