New Wallaby wonder?

The Lions could face a new world star in 2013 if Australia's latest proposed cross-code switch goes ahead. [more]

New Wallaby wonder?

The Lions could face a new world star in 2013 if Australia’s latest proposed cross-code switch goes ahead.

Cooper Cronk is currently the most valuable player in Australian rugby league but rumours suggest he could be on his way to union sooner rather than later.

The Melbourne Storm playmaker is being linked with a transfer to the same city’s new Super 15 franchise the Rebels – one of the teams the Lions will face when they head Down Under in less than a year-and-a-half’s time.

Cooper is being lined up as a replacement for Danny Cipriani whose two-year contract runs out at the end of the Super Rugby season.

Cipriani has been linked with an even earlier exit given Martin Johnson’s departure as England boss and Cronk could therefore be poached before the season is over if Cipriani decides to head back home to press his international claims.

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With first-choice Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper allegedly interested in moving from union to league, the Australian Rugby Union could be tempted to part finance a deal for Cronk who has previous experience in the 15-a-side version of the sport.

Cronk grew up playing union alongside Wallaby great Matt Giteau and, at 28-years-old, could be at his peak by the time the Lions come calling.

The Rebels have suggested capturing Cronk, who only began playing league at 18, will be difficult due to wage demands but assistance from the ARU and the fact that union clubs tend to pay more than their NRL counterparts mean a deal could well be on the cards.

Cronk is out of contract this year and the Storm appear resigned to losing their star man, although he could yet be signed by another league franchise, with the Broncos, Rabbitohs and Eels all in contention for his services.

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