Former two-time NRL champion Suliasi Vunivalu could still feature for the Wallabies later this year, despite missing the cut in the recently announced 44-member squad.
Vunivalu’s initial two-year Super Rugby contract with an estimated worth of $700,000 concluded in 2022.
But despite links to the NRL’s expansion franchise the Redcliffe Dolphins, he opted to take up what is understood to be a significant pay cut on a one-year extension with the Queensland Reds, doubling down on his ambitions to don the green and gold at this year’s World Cup.
The pay cut also eases what could be a hefty loss for Rugby Australia, as their master plan for recruiting the next Wallaby star winger has so far failed to fire.
Coach Dave Rennie said several fringe players like Vunivalu still have an opportunity to force their way into the next camp through strong Super Rugby form.
“We’ll use the four days to make sure all players head back to their franchises with a clear understanding on what will give them the best chance of representing their country in a World Cup year.”
Should Vunivalu stay healthy, he undoubtedly will be in contention for a place in the final team to Paris, but still competition will come from fellow Fijian Mark Nawaqanitawase, Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia and Andrew Kellaway for the right winger’s position.