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No Rush to put pen to paper for Ulster

Speculation is mounting that All Black Xavier Rush is on the verge of pulling out of his two-year deal to join Ulster.

The Cardiff Blues captain, who led his side to victory over Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup final in Marseille yesterday, had agreed a move to Ravenhill in a deal reputed to be worth in the region of £275,000 a year, but reports from Wales indicate the No 8 may have had a change of heart and wants to stay with the Blues.

It was reported that Rush (pictured) has opened discussions with Cardiff bosses about the possibility of him staying, although he'd need to buy himself out of the Ulster deal before re-signing.

If the move does not go ahead it will be a big blow for Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin but would mean Ireland summer tourist Chris Henry will have less overseas obstacles in his way to a place in the Ulster back-row.

Meanwhile, Blues coach Dai Young praised his team's resilience after they came from behind at half-time to beat Toulon.

The French side had led 13-6 at the break in the Stade Velodrome. However, Cardiff got to grips with the occasion in the second half and emerged 28-21 victors.

He said: “The attitude was excellent — we could have chucked the towel in at some stages.”

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson had to be substituted by Toulon shortly after half-time, after he suffered an injury.

Wilkinson said: “Cardiff just maybe got a few things right that we didn't and that made the difference.”

l Iain Balshaw admits he would grasp the opportunity to resurrect an England career that has stalled during Martin Johnson's managerial reign.

Balshaw seemingly remains out of sight, out of mind from Johnson's perspective as England prepare for their five-match tour to Australia and New Zealand next month.

It is more than two years since the full-back, whose dream of becoming a Heineken Cup winner ended with Biarritz's 21-19 defeat against Toulouse in Paris on Saturday, played for his country.

He said: “Obviously you always want to play for your country but it's not at the forefront of my mind.”

Belfast Telegraph


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