All Black linked with Wales switch
July 26, 2013
Rodney So'oialo would bring a wealth of experience to either the Blues or the Scarlets © Getty Images
Former All Black No.8 Rodney So'oialo has been strongly linked with a switch to Wales with Cardiff Blues and Scarlets both reportedly keen on signing him.
Reports on Wales Online claim both Welsh regions have tabled offers for the 62-cap Kiwi. So'oialo is currently turning out in Japan for the Honda Heat but is reportedly keen on a switch to Wales.
The Blues have a spare space in their overseas quota following Michael Paterson's switch to Sale but ESPN understands the Scarlets are the front-runners for the No.8. Last season Rob McCusker turned out at the back of the scrum for the men from Llanelli but he prefers blindside which could pave the way for So'oialo to line-up at No.8.
If So'oialo does sign for either Welsh region then it will be one of the biggest coups for the country's domestic rugby scene in recent years. He would also follow in the footsteps of some other All Blacks who made the transition with Jerry Collins, Marty Holah and Xavier Rush having played in Wales in the past.
But if the Blues miss out on So'oialo's signature, then their supporters will still get to see Lions Alex Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny running out for the region next season. And their new attack coach Alex Ring is relishing the chance to work with them.
"Those guys have got to the level they are at because they are wonderful players, but my job, as well as the other coaches, is to work with everybody and try to improve people where I can," Ring told Wales Online. "It's not as if I could ever improve Leigh Halfpenny's goal-kicking or Alex Cuthbert's speed, but perhaps I could have an impact in terms of footwork, evasive running, fixing defenders and lines of running.
"I want to look at players from an all-round attacking perspective as well as an individual one. But I am still learning as a coach too and I'm looking forward to learning from Phil Davies. I think all players can improve, but my role isn't to come in and try to change anything for the sake of it, or to start shouting from the rooftops."
"Sometimes the best way to coach is to allow players to just get on with doing what they are best at and just tweaking things here and there."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter