Palu boost for Aussies' World Cup prospects

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The Independent Online

Wycliff Palu has re-signed with the Wallabies and Waratahs for a further two years in a major boost to Australia's 2011 Rugby World Cup prospects.

The 27-year-old No 8 had been targeted by clubs in Japan and Europe but has opted to continue his Test career after lengthy negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union.

His departure would have been a crushing blow for Robbie Deans' side following George Smith's recent decision to walk away from Test football at the end of the current Super rugby season.

Palu confirmed his decision this morning before boarding a plane to Christchurch with the Waratahs ahead of today's crucial match against the Crusaders. He said being part of Australia's Rugby World Cup campaign next year was too irresistible to give up.

"I like the way this Wallabies team is moving forward under coach Robbie Deans," Palu said. "It had a big influence on my decision to stay in Australia. I definitely want to play at the World Cup next year because I think we're in with a real chance. If I didn't believe that I probably would have left.

"But the World Cup is massive, and when I look back on my career one day I want to do it with no regrets. If I went overseas at the end of this year it might have been something I ended up regretting.''

Palu, who will also stay with the Waratahs until the end of the 2012 season, said he was equally excited by the looming changes in Super rugby next year.

"These are exciting times for Aussie rugby," he said. "There is a new team setting up in Melbourne, the competition is expanding, and it's going to be better for the game in this country for sure. It's also good that some of our teams are really playing well in Super 14 this year. It shows Australian rugby is definitely heading in the right direction."