Some reassuring advice from teammates might just have helped Rory Arnold with his decision to remain in Australian rugby, after the lock announced a new three-year contract last week.
Arnold was wrestling with a decision over his re-signing during the Wallabies’ Spring Tour, with Toulon reportedly offering him a $570,000 a year contract to make the European switch.
The 26-year-old has had a meteoric rise through the professional rugby ranks since debuting for the Brumbies in 2015, cracking the Test arena in June, playing nine Tests in 2016 and forming a consistent partnership with fellow rookie Adam Coleman.
Brumbies and Wallabies prop Scott Sio said the players simply reminded him to make the best decision for his family when weighing up the move.
“I think he was tossing and turning between a bit of it towards the back end of the [Spring] tour and we reminded him to do what's best for him and his family,”- Scott Sio
“He's made a decision to stick around, which is great for us and really looking forward to building a team around him and Allan [Alaalatoa] and a few of the boys the next couple of years.
Sio re-signed earlier in 2016 and said each player had their own motivation but the significance of the Wallabies jersey and the chance to claim a domestic title played a big role for him.
“I guess it's all about your priorities at the end of the day and your aspirations, what you want to achieve in rugby and going back to when I re-signed, there was a lot I wanted to do in Super Rugby and with Wallabies,” he said.
“I want to be one of the best Wallabies of all time and I'm still yet to win a Super Rugby Championship. The (Super Rugby final) loss in 2013 still stings me to this day and you're still looking for a bit of redemption.
“Everyone has their own goals in mind and what they want to keep achieving as well, so I'm sure Rory had a long think about it by himself and with his family and he's made the right decision for himself.”
Sio has put his hand up for more Super Rugby responsibility in 2017, with Test captain Stephen Moore heading back to Queensland to play for the Reds.
The loosehead prop is one of the veterans of the team now, with Matt Toomua, David Pocock, Joe Tomane and Moore all to be absent in 2017, while co-captain Christian Lealiifano has been ruled out with illness.
Sio said ‘adaptability’ would be his aim for next season, after one with increased competition for front row spots.
“Everyone's bringing something different every year and you've got to be ready for that and I think the biggest thing I take from this year is probably the word adaptability, being able to adapt on the run to new challenges and new things that might arise,” he said.
“I think I'll take the next couple of weeks to sit down with my old man, like I do every year and talk about our goals heading into next year.
“It's a new team dynamic...I've always been the young guy around the middle and now I've got to step up into a senior role and I think it's great from a personal point of view, for my growth as a rugby player, to see if I can keep taking the next step up.”
Sio was at Knox Grammar helping out Australia’s next generation of rugby talent, with a group of 30 youngsters in camp in Sydney’s north living and training at the school this week.