The Wallabies’ unbeaten Spring Tour campaign is set to be rocked by reports cashed-up French teams are preparing enormous bids to snare rising lock Rory Arnold and try-scoring centre Tevita Kuridrani.
Wealthy French comic book magnate Mourad Boudjellal, according to respected French sports magazine L’Equipe, is understood to be determined to sign outstanding rookie Arnold – who has cemented a starting spot in Michael Cheika’s second row after eight Tests.
L’Equipe reported on Friday that the Brumbies star had been presented with an offer in the region of 400,000 euros ($A570,000) per season and a view to getting him to France for next season.
After missing out on 22-year-old Scotland star Jonny Gray, Boudjellal turned his attention to Arnold.
Australian rugby would be loathe to lose a talent like Arnold.
The 208cm Arnold, in the back half of the year, formed an exciting locking combination with fellow rookie Adam Coleman before a knee injury ended the latter’s Spring Tour a fortnight ago.
Equally, alarm bells would be ringing about the interest in Kuridrani – who has returned to his try-scoring best on the Spring Tour.
The 25-year-old has crossed for a try in all three Tests on tour, and is halfway to emulating the incredible feats of Wallaby great Mark Ella who remains the only Australian to score a grand slam of tries – against all four home nations, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Kuridrani appeared to have lost his grip on a starting spot in Cheika’s team as fellow Fijian Samu Kerevi impressed at No.13.
But Kuridrani has responded to the challenge, according to Cheika, and is producing some of the best football of his Wallaby career while Kerevi recovers from an ankle injury.
He scored a stunningly acrobatic try against France on Saturday in which the majority of his body was airborne and over the sideline, and it seems local clubs have taken notice.
The Bordeaux Begles, home to veteran Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper, are reportedly interested in chasing a top-line centre – and believe Kuridrani fits the bill.
Kuridrani, also at the Brumbies, is off contract at the end of next year.