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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 09:20 GMT
Johns eyes union move
Australia rugby league star Andrew Johns
Andrew Johns suffered a serious neck injury last year
Australia rugby league captain Andrew Johns is reportedly considering a switch of codes for the 2007 World Cup.

Johns, widely recognised as the world's best league player, has told friends and family he wants to go head-to-head against World Cup winners England.

"The prospect of marking up against Jonny Wilkinson is a huge incentive for him," Johns' elder brother Matthew told the Sun Herald newspaper.

Johns' manager John Fordham said: "We have already had discussions about it."

The Australian Rugby Union began recruiting from league after they won the World Cup in 1999.

Three former Kangaroos, Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuqiri, all played in the Wallabies team that lost last year's final to England.

Johns attended the match with Fordham and the scale of the event apparently convinced him to consider a switch when his contract expires at the end of the year.

Fordham said: "Rugby union is now a professional game and not only does it offer a financial option, it also allows players to compete on a world stage and that has real appeal."

Jonny Wilkinson tackles Wendell Sailor
League recruit Sailor is tackled by England's Wilkinson
Although he plays scrum-half in league, Johns' brilliant passing and kicking game could make him an excellent fly-half in the 15-man code.

"It would probably take him six months to get his head around the game, but after that he would be great," said Rogers, who played alongside Johns in the Australian team that won the Rugby League World Cup in 2000.

Duncan McRae, another former league recruit who has played professional rugby in England, said Johns would be an instant success.

"No one plays football like him. Jonny Wilkinson has a great kicking game, but Johns would dominate general play like no one else.

"He'd be the best five-eighth in the game in a hurry."


SEE ALSO
League star helps Wales
02 Oct 03  |  Wales
Johns to miss Ashes tour
14 Aug 03  |  Rugby League


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