Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Mason could make code switch

Willie Mason

Hull KR's colourful import Willie Mason could be about to cut short his stay in Super League after being courted by big-spending French rugby union club Toulon.

The 31-year-old Australian Test forward is just six weeks into a two-year contract with the Robins but, according to reports in France, he visited Toulon last week with his London-based manager Greg Keenan and was spotted having coffee with wealthy club president Mourad Boudjellal.

Mason is currently playing in England as an overseas player as he awaits the arrival of his Tongan passport which would enable him to come off the import quota, courtesy of the Cotonou trade treaty.

Hull KR de-registered injured Australian scrum-half Michael Dobson to make way for Mason but he is thought to be close to recovery from ankle surgery, leaving the club with a dilemma if the Tongan passport does not arrive quickly.

Coach Justin Morgan says the club plan to clarify the situation on Wednesday, 48 hours ahead of the second Hull derby of the season.

"There will be a statement from the club that will answer all your questions," Morgan told a press conference.

It is thought Toulon want Mason to follow in the footsteps of his former Canterbury Bulldogs team-mate Sonny Bill Williams and play inside centre, having transformed the New Zealander from a rugby league forward to a powerful rugby union three-quarter.

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson is already playing for Toulon and he will be joined next season by Springboks forward Bakkies Botha and Wallabies utility back Matt Giteau.

Mason has considered a switch of codes in the past, having spoken to the Waratahs in 2007 and he also visited Japan in 2009 to talk with rugby union clubs.

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