Hawke's Bay rugby signs ex-Kangaroo

BY DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:09 07/07/2010
Luke Rooney
Getty Images
PANTHER, KANGAROO, MAGPIE: Former Penrith Panthers and Kangaroos league rep Luke Rooney has signed to play provincial rugby in New Zealand with Hawke's Bay.

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Hawke's Bay may have missed out on Sonny Bill Williams but the Magpies have secured the services of former Australian rugby league international Luke Rooney for the ITM Cup.

The progressive union put in a solid offer to Wiiliams, the Kiwi league convert hoping to crack the All Blacks. He turned them down in favour of Canterbury.

But the Magpies are excited at picking up Rooney, a former team mate of Williams at Toulon, who is keen to progress his rugby game and sees the New Zealand provincial scene as an ideal chance to do that.

"Over the last two seasons Luke has been playing rugby for Toulon in the French Top 14 Championship, having previously had a highly successful league career which included representing New South Wales in State of Origin and Australia at international level," HBRU chief executive.

Rooney has just signed to play for Australia's new Super 15 franchise, the Melbourne Rebels.

Magpies coach Peter Russell is excited at Mooney's potential.

"Luke has an impressive pedigree in both rugby league and rugby union and will add real star quality to our ITM Cup squad.  His ability to play cover centre, wing or full back will considerably enhance our squad for 2010," said Russell.

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