Little set to play in Europe

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The Independent Online

The career paths of Tim Horan and Jason Little were so ridiculously identical for so long - same position, same club, same state side, same serious injury in the same Super 10 final after being tackled by the same opponent, joint authors of a "co-biography" - that there was something distinctly conjoined about the Wallaby midfielders from Queensland.

The career paths of Tim Horan and Jason Little were so ridiculously identical for so long - same position, same club, same state side, same serious injury in the same Super 10 final after being tackled by the same opponent, joint authors of a "co-biography" - that there was something distinctly conjoined about the Wallaby midfielders from Queensland.

Little, the younger of the two by a whole three months, cut the cord a couple of years ago by moving to New South Wales, but there is a real chance that he and his blood brother will be reunited in Europe next season.

Little, back in the Wallaby Tri-Nations line-up because of an injury to his great friend and colleague, is being pursued by clubs from France, Italy and, inevitably, the United Kingdom, where thirtysomething Australians are fast becoming a collector's item. Horan flies to England in September to begin an autumnal stint at Saracens, while another Queenslander, the flanker David Wilson, has agreed terms with Harlequins. If Little also opts for an agreeably-salaried dotage in the Allied Dunbar Premiership - Leicester are rumoured to be interested, as are London Irish - there will be more midfield quality around the shires than anywhere else in Christendom.

As recently as three weeks ago, Little's old Wallaby coach and mentor, Bob Dwyer, might have been attempting to lure him to Bristol. As it is, Dwyer is now trying everything he knows to keep him in Sydney. The 1991 World Cup-winning maestro will coach the New South Wales Waratahs in next season's Super 12 competition and he met the player yesterday to ask him to stay on.

Dwyer may even succeed. "I think the fact that Jason met with the NSW coach indicates that the door is not closed," said Little's agent, John Fordham. All the same, a change of hemisphere looks favourite. Fordham described some of the offers coming Little's way as "very strong" and indicated that the French option might prove the most attractive. "In France, registration has to be completed by the end of July, so a decision is going to have to be made in the very near future," he said.

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