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Paul set to call it quits

Fotopress

Sportal.co.nz     06 Jul 2007     Fotopress

Wallabies head coach John Connolly told media at the team announcement on Wednesday that the 72-Test veteran was considered to be 'down the pecking order' after Reds rake Sean Hardman was chosen ahead of Paul to replace the injured Stephen Moore in the Australia's squad for this weekend's clash against South Africa in Sydney.

NSW Waratahs hooker Adam Freier was named as the starting hooker for the Tri-Nations Test with Hardman earning a bench spot.

Connolly believed Paul's non-selection would mean the former John Eales Medallist would more than likely be granted a release from his current contract with the ARU so he could end his impressive career by playing with Gloucester in the UK.

"That's being discussed at the moment," said Connolly "We have agreed to that and I'd be surprised if he didn't get a release in the near future."

Connolly explained that Paul's form and lack of match-fitness were the main reasons why selectors have decided to overlook him for the current international campaign.

"There were a lot of things to take into consideration but form was the main one," said Connolly.

"He didn't play in any of the (Australia) A games. He made a comeback to club rugby last weekend but he's been out of rugby now since the beginning of May, so it's quite a while and we just think it's time to move on."

Connolly indicated that he was, however, keeping an extra hooker option open by tracking the progress of injured Waratahs rake Tatafu Polota-Nau before the World Cup.

"We have got a positive report on Tatafu and all indications are he will be available for selection," said Connolly.

"He'd have to play a couple of Australian Championship games if he was to be selected."