Formal offer presented to Gasnier

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has offered centre Mark Gasnier a formal playing contract to switch from rugby league club St George Illawarra Dragons. The proposed deal would also enable Gasnier to play his club rugby union for Super 14 side the New South Wales Waratahs. "We didn't go out looking for Mark Gasnier, he came to us. We met with him on a number of occasions and we have now made him a formal offer," ARU chief executive Gary Flowers said in a statement on Wednesday.

"He is a world-class rugby league player, one of the best in the world in his position, and (Wallabies coach) John Connolly and our high performance unit feel he has the potential to make a big impact in the game." Flowers said Gasnier had been made a competitive offer which was nowhere near the A$750,000 that has been reported in Australian media.

"We have made him an offer that is commensurate with his abilities and standing as a professional footballer, but one that is affordable, performance-based and in line with contracts offered to players of a similar standard," Flowers said.

"If he decides he wants a new challenge in an international game with the potential to play his way into a Rugby World Cup, that's great."

"However, if he chooses to stick with rugby league, we will be comfortable in the knowledge that we have offered him the best possible opportunity to cross over to the 15-man game."