Australian Rugby Star Remains Unfazed by NRL Defection: Wallabies Commit to Selection in 2024

Phil Waugh, CEO of Rugby Australia, ensures that Mark Nawaqanitawase’s NRL defection won’t affect his Wallabies selection for 2024, saying “door’s always open” for his return. He emphasizes the need to cultivate a strong culture to retain rugby talent. Nawaqanitawase’s move to the Roosters prompts Waugh to focus on coexistence with the NRL and picking the best team for each test. He also addresses future Wallabies selection, saying the focus should be on winning current matches. Nawaqanitawase’s NRL contract allows for a potential return to Wallabies for the 2027 World Cup, and Waugh doesn’t rule out welcoming him back. He acknowledges Nawaqanitawase’s choice and expresses the need for a positive culture within Rugby Australia. Waugh plans to address the director of high performance and head coach vacancies to strengthen the organization. Additionally, he will engage New Zealand Rugby in Super Rugby Pacific board meetings to enhance collaboration and enhance the Super Rugby brand.