Brumbies ‘exceedingly disappointed’ as Wallabies captain Stephen Moore jumps ship to Reds
Club says it ‘moved heaven and earth’ to try to meet his ‘unique demands’
Wallabies captain Stephen Moore will leave the ACT Brumbies after the 2016 Super Rugby season to rejoin the Queensland Reds, it was announced Thursday, with his Canberra club “exceedingly disappointed”.
The Brumbies said it “moved heaven and earth” to meet 32-year-old Moore's “unique demands” but it was not enough to prevent the hooker leaving for a rival team.
Brumbies chief executive Michael Jones said Moore had indicated he was keen see out his career in Canberra, for whom he has played 102 matches since 2009 after leaving the Reds, and he was very surprised at the decision.
“We are exceedingly disappointed about today's announcement that Stephen Moore will leave the Brumbies at the end of 2016,” he said on the club website.
“[Coach] Stephen Larkham and I worked extremely hard to create a deal that was acceptable to Moore and his agent.
“We were given a deadline and moved heaven and earth to satisfy that deadline including late night calls to South Africa where Moore was holidaying.”
Jones said the Brumbies made a “very generous” long-term offer late last week, including meeting “a number of unique demands”, to which Moore's agent agreed.
“After speaking with Stephen personally, he spoke passionately about wanting to remain a Brumby and pleaded with us to come up with an offer to meet his demands and counter offers from Europe,” said Jones.
“He clearly expressed the desire to stay in Canberra, wanted to be a Brumby and to extend his career through to the next Rugby World Cup and ultimately finish his career here.
“We met every one of those demands, so we were surprised and disappointed to find out he has agreed to join the Reds late last night.”
Larkham said the side would now start planning for 2017 without Moore, with plenty of depth in the hooker role, including Wallaby representative Josh Mann-Rea and the up-and-coming Robbie Abel.
Moore is due to return to training on January 4.