Bosses deny duo feel Blue
NZRU 'puzzled' at claims players are unhappy at Blues
By Katy Richards. Last Updated: 02/08/07 3:59pm
Rokocoko: Rumours denied
The New Zealand Rugby Union has questioned claims that All Blacks Tony Woodcock and Joe Rokocoko will quit the Blues if David Nucifora remains in charge.
Claims were made in Rugby News magazine that the players would seek to play elsewhere if Nucifora remained at Eden Park through to 2009, as appointed.
Lock Ali Williams was sent home from South Africa on disciplinary grounds before the Blues' semi-final defeat in Durban and is out of contract with the NZRU and Auckland at the end of the year.
Rokocoko is also believed to be upset at his lack of game time while Woodcock is alleged to have raised concerns with the NZRU.
Blues chief executive Andy Dalton, though, has vigorously denied that any of the players were unhappy at the club and admitted that negotiations to keep Williams were continuing.
Commenting on the players' future at the club, Dalton told The New Zealand Herald: "They both clearly stated to me that they were happy in the Blues squad and are looking forward to next season. The end-of-season review they completed supports this statement."
Chief executive of the NZRU, Steve Tew said that the organisation was also "puzzled" by the claims.
Speaking to Radio Sport he said: "Obviously Ali's situation is not a secret but as far as Roks or Woody are concerned we can't find any substance to it.
"We've had no contact with them, or their people. We're quite puzzled frankly.
"We've been through a thorough review process with the franchises including face-to-face interviews with the players - none of that surfaced at all.
"I don't know if those two players were interviewed but there was no negative comments coming from the Blues environment as far as we could determine."