18 Dec 2015

Stephen Moore heading back to Queensland

11:29 am on 18 December 2015

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore will be returning to Super Rugby rivals the Queensland Reds after next season, the ACT Brumbies said, making it clear they felt they had been misled during contract negotiations.

Australian captain Stephen Moore at Eden Park, Auckland, 2009.

Australian captain Stephen Moore at Eden Park, Auckland, 2009. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 32-year-old hooker came through the junior ranks at the Reds before moving to the Brumbies in 2009 and has played 102 times for the Canberra-based side, matching exactly his tally of Test caps.

A statement released by the Brumbies said the 2016 season would be Moore's last with the team "following his decision to re-join the Queensland Reds".

"We are exceedingly disappointed about the announcement that Stephen Moore will leave the Brumbies at the end of 2016," Brumbies chief executive Michael Jones said.

"The discussions with myself and coaching staff left us in no doubt and with a clear impression that his long-term future would be with the Brumbies if we met the demands we were given. We met every one of those demands.

"So we were surprised and disappointed to find out he has agreed to join the Reds late last night."

Jones said Moore, who led the Wallabies to the final at the recent Rugby World Cup, had "pleaded with us to come up with an offer to meet his demands and counter offers from Europe".

The Queensland Reds were unable to confirm that Moore had signed for 2017 but chief executive Jim Carmichael said he was "surprised" to read Jones's comments about a player contracted to the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).

"I'm particularly surprised that... Jones seems to have undermined the current Wallabies captain by suggesting he is leaving the Brumbies to join another Australian franchise over money," Carmichael said.

"Any Australian player who has a national contract with the ARU, quite appropriately, is negotiated by them and the player's province of choice.

"All Australian Super Rugby provinces must abide by the ARU's national contracting rules, to ensure that no team can pay more than another when it's a nationally contracted player.

"The player then has the right to join the team of his choosing. From our perspective, we believe that Stephen has rejected overseas offers to play out his career in Australia and remain a proud Wallaby."

The Brumbies lost another former Wallabies captain last year when loose forward Ben Mowen left for Montpellier and former Australia scrumhalf Nic White joined him at the French club at the end of last season.

Wallabies midfield back Matt Toomua will also leave the Brumbies at the end of next season to join English club Leicester Tigers.

- Reuters