Australian winger Mark Nawaqanitawase, one of the Wallabies’ hopes after the 2023 World Cup debacle, will move to rugby league for two seasons, starting in 2025, his future formation, the Sydney Roosters, announced on Thursday.

“We are pleased to have sealed Mark’s arrival and look forward to welcoming him to our club in 2025,” Roosters director of recruitment Daniel Anderson said in a statement.

Nawaqanitawase (11 caps), who plays for the Waratahs, a rugby union club in Sydney, signed a contract for two seasons with this rugby union team, according to the same source.

This is therefore bad news for the Wallabies, who are coming out of a nightmare World Cup in France, with an unprecedented elimination from the group stage. Aged 23, Mark Nawaqanitawase had been one of the rare Australian satisfactions, playing in all the matches.

“We are disappointed, Mark has been a strong force over the last 12 months,” responded Rugby Australia president Phil Waugh. “The sides, however, are an area of ​​the game where we have strengths… We are confident in our ability to acquire talented future wingers,” he added.

The leaders of Australian rugby union can particularly reassure themselves by noting that another young winger, Joseph Suaalii, who currently plays for the Roosters, will take the opposite path from Nawaqanitawase by joining the Waratahs at the end of 2024.

Mark Nawaqanitawase’s agent, Andrew Fairbairn, has also not ruled out the possibility that his client returns to rugby union by the next World Cup, which will take place in Australia in 2027.

“We hope the door stays open for Mark with the Wallabies,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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