With Tuqiri's options dwindling down to just the Super 14 teams the New South Wales Waratahs, the Queensland Reds and Australian rugby league team the South Sydney Rabbitohs, ARU officials tabled an offer that was less than their first offer rejected by Tuqiri last November but reputed to be around A$5 million (Ã0Â£2.02million) over five years.
After being refused an extension on the deadline to make up his mind, Tuqiri expressed his bemusement at the ARU's handling of the contract negotiations, labelling them as arrogant and giving his firmest indications that he may return to rugby league.
"If a deal gets done with rugby, I won't have anything to do with the administration in future," Tuqiri said in the Sunday Telegraph.
"I'm a football player. I don't play the politics game of rugby and their administration."
Former ARU boss John O'Neill told the Courier Mail: "What I've been seeing of late are examples of dysfunctionality which the game cannot afford.
"The Tuqiri soap opera, well, what does it do for rugby?
"With Lote, you give him an offer, you give him a deadline and that's it.
"I've even had the rugby league hierarchy say to me: We wish rugby union was better at making decisions and just get these things out of the way."