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Thursday, July 15, 1999 Published at 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK

Sport: Rugby Union

ARB warn Jones-Hughes

Jason-Jones Hughes could face a fine if he fails to go on tour

Australian centre Jason Jones-Hughes could be fined by the Australian Rugby Union - if he fails to tour with the Australian Barbarians to New Zealand.

The player has been at the centre of a tug-of-war battle between his home country and Wales - who named him in their World Cup squad.

His eligibility for Wales was consequently overruled by the International Rugby Board - despite the centre's father being Welsh.

Jones-Hughes has been picked for a two-match tour of New Zealand next week, but has remained non-committal about whether he will make the trip.

His legal adviser Simon Anderson expressed surprise at a warning from ARU general manager John O'Neill that Jones-Hughes could be in breach of his contract and have payments docked if he declined to tour.

"Given that Wales is another factor in this and could conceivably initiate an appeal with or without his support, he has had to delay any swift resolution of the way forward until such a time as Wales comes to a view on what they wish to do," Anderson said.

Barbarians selectors and coach Eddie Jones have been told that Jones-Hughes will make his decision on Friday.

But Australian union chief O'Neill claimed his organisation could fine Jones-Hughes if he declined to tour New Zealand.

"He's obliged to play," he said.

"He can refuse to show up but then we would reserve the right to a financial imposition.

"He's contracted for the calendar year and he can't just turn around and say 'I'm not playing'."

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