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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 11:55 GMT
Cordingley set for Swansea
Sam Cordingley
Sam Cordingley has impressed for Queensland Reds
Former Australian international scrum-half Sam Cordingley announced on Tuesday that he will be joining Welsh club Swansea for next season.

Despite being first-choice No 9 for the Queensland Reds Super 12 side, the 26-year-old will link up at St Helen's with his former Queensland coach John Connolly, who is quitting French club Stade Francais.

The Australian Rugby Union's high-performance manager, Jeff Miller, said he was surprised by Cordingley's decision, which under ARU rules will rule him out of the Wallabies' defence of their World Cup title in 2003.

  Sam Cordingley factfile:
DoB: 20/3/76
Height: 180cm
Weight: 87kg
Super 12 record: Caps: 28; Points: 20 (4 tries); Debut: 1998 v Highlanders (ACT).
Test record: Caps 5; Points: 0; Debut: June 2000 v Argentina.

"Sam has been one injury away from being in the Australian squad of 22, so I'm surprised he'd give that up, but I'm also respectful of the fact that at the age of 26 he could set himself up financially," Miller said.

After a fine 2000 season which saw him rise to Wallaby ranks, earning all of his five caps that year between June and November, Cordingley was plagued by injuries the following season.

Although he was limited to just four games for the Reds, the scrum-half did manage to play in the Super 12 semi-final loss to Australian rivals the ACT Brumbies, plus a try-scoring performance against the touring Lions.

Originally from Sydney, Cordingley enjoyed an impressive rookie season in Super 12 with the Brumbies in 1998, but moved to Queensland in search of a regular starting position.

Swansea have been short of cover at scrum-half all season, with former Wales and Lions star Robert Jones coming out of retirement following injuries to younger brother Rhodri and Tonga's Sililo Martens.

It is desperately unlucky for Rhodri
Swansea rugby director Richard Moriarty

Rhodri's bad run of injuries continued this week, when it was announced that he will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery on Saturday evening.

The scrum-half damaged medial ligaments in the 27-22 defeat by Edinburgh and could be out for as long as six months.

"It is desperately unlucky for Rhodri, who has suffered more than his fair share of nasty injuries in recent seasons, " said Swansea rugby director Richard Moriarty.

Rhodri has already missed 10 weeks of the season, the legacy of a broken leg suffered against Glasgow in September.

Swansea's other long-term injury victim, hooker Chris Wells, will also miss the remainder of the season with knee trouble.

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