Haylett-Petty turns down foreign riches to stay in Aussie rugby

by Iain Payten

Wallabies veteran and Rebels skipper Dane Haylett-Petty has bucked the “post-World Cup exodus” trend and extended his Australian career for another two seasons.

At a time when many Test players are announcing they'll play overseas after the 2019 World Cup, Haylett-Petty, 29, signed a new contract with Rugby Australia and Melbourne through to the end of 2021 on Wednesday.

It is understood Haylett-Petty had plenty of opportunity to cash in as well, with sizeable offers to sign with Glasgow in Scotland and several clubs in Japan also interested.

But the 31-cap fullback elected to stay in his adopted hometown of Melbourne, saying that while the Rugby World Cup was big a goal, he had plenty of other aspirations left to fulfil in Australian rugby, both at a Test and Super Rugby level.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Melbourne since arriving last year. This environment has really helped me develop as a player on the field, and as a leader off the field,” Haylett-Petty said.

The Rebels had a critical win in Auckland. Photo: Getty Images“I wanted to do what was best for my development as a rugby player, and that was to stay here in Australia and to continue my journey here at the Rebels and Wallabies.

“We have a lot left to achieve at an International level and I want to contribute to the best of my ability. The World Cup is a major goal of course, but this season we’ve already spoken about how important the Rugby Championship is and how much we want to get our hands on the Bledisloe Cup for all of Australia.

“There’s no bigger honour – and challenge – than representing your country, and competing against the best teams and players in the world,” Haylett-Petty said.

Born in South Africa and raised in Perth, Haylett-Petty played for the Western Force between 2008-10, before playing in France for three years.

After returning home to Australia, he quickly established himself as a star and debuted for the Wallabies in 2016.

“Dane is a real competitor and has quickly stepped up to the standard of Test footy,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said in a statement.

“The outside backs are a really competitive position in our side and Dane often leads the way in how he prepares during the week and his commitment during games on the weekend.

“He’s had that experience overseas which has helped mature him as a footballer and I know how desperate he is to have a big part to play in the World Cup later this year."