‘We didn’t get that far’: What Rugby Australia told Jake Gordon when they blocked his dream French move


Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon has spoken publicly for the first time about being refused an early release by Rugby Australia to allow him to play in France.

Gordon is one of three No.9s contracted to a Super club and RA, along with Tate McDermott and Nic White. Although he was regularly used by Dave Rennie, Eddie Jones ignored Gordon’s claims to a gold jersey and it was no surprise when he was left off the World Cup squad.

Gordon is in Perth ahead of his 100th Super Rugby game, against Western Force, and explained the discussions with RA that ended in disappointment.

The 30-year-old had been keen to take up an offer with Perpignan in France, but denied he gave RA an ultimatum.

“I love the Waratahs and I’ve loved my time to date here in Australian rugby. I’m not saying that that’s changed at all, but as a player, you’re always looking for opportunities,” Gordon told reporters on Friday.

“I’d spoken with the French club and those opportunities don’t come around all the time. It’s an exciting [offer] , but at the same time, it’s an exciting opportunity here over the next 12 months as well.

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

“Both awesome, but it’s not happening. I’m staying here for the next 12 months and I’m excited for that challenge too.”

Gordon said there had been some “back and forth over the last month or so” with RA before his bid was rejected.

“What they said to me is basically, I need to honour my contract here. That’s sort of, I guess, the right thing to do.

“I’ve been lucky enough that the Waratahs gave me an opportunity to start my career and I’ve played a couple of games for the Wallabies as well and I think it’s probably the right thing to do at the moment.

“The way we approached it was there was some interest, what do they see happening? So I wouldn’t say it was, ‘I’m out, I’m going’. It was more, how do you feel about it? Do you see a potential of me staying at this club? They’re all sort of conversations you need to have.

“It wasn’t a direct, I want out, release me. It was a conversation and a good one.”

Gordon said there had been no discussions about if it meant he would be required for the Wallabies under new coach Joe Schmidt.

“We didn’t get that far into the conversation,” Gordon said. “My ambition is to definitely get back there. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

He preferred to look at the rejection as a driver to return to the national team.

“I’m excited. Like I said, those opportunities don’t come around all the time and I’d be lying if I said I’ve never had a look at possibly pursuing that.

“But when that decision was made, you look forward and you go, ‘how good would it be if I played some really good rugby here and possibly see where that takes me at international level’. If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, I’ve got to work a little bit harder.”

He was asked if the issues within Australian rugby meant more players would be looking to go overseas.

The Waratahs have already lost a host of players for next season, including Izzy Perese and Lachie Swinton to Europe.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment,” Gordon said. “I feel for the guys down in Melbourne. I’m not really up to date on what’s exactly happening there so it’s probably not appropriate I comment on it at the moment. But yeah, there’s a lot of movement.

“What is exciting is the Wallabies set up and what they’ve got happening over the next eight months with Joe who’s come in and organised a really good program around him.

“I think a decision needs to be made around what happens there but there’s an exciting time if they get it right.”

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