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ben barba could play in brisbane global rugby tens, but nrl takes tough stance against toulon deal

ben barba could play in brisbane global rugby tens, but nrl takes tough stance against toulon deal News Article With The full text news and with Resource Link at the bottom of the text and you can View this News Article in the source page.



ben barba could play in brisbane global rugby tens, but nrl takes tough stance against toulon deal

ben barba's bid to play rugby in the south of france during his 12-match nrl ban was dealt a swift blow by the game's governing body on wednesday.

fed up with players tarnishing the image of the sport, the nrl has drawn a line in the sand by cruelling barba's plans to play for toulon during the next four months and return to cronulla mid-season once his suspension for cocaine use had expired.

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barba makes shock switch to rugby

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nrl star ben barba has signed a deal with french rugby powerhouse toulon until the end of the season. vision courtesy seven network.

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barba makes shock switch to rugby

nrl star ben barba has signed a deal with french rugby powerhouse toulon until the end of the season. vision courtesy seven network.

nrl chief executive todd greenberg, who worked closely with barba during their time at canterbury, has decided not to begin the premiership winner's 12-game suspension until he returns home, effectively ruling him out of the entire 2017 season.

the tough stance against barba allowed cronulla the opportunity to try to talk the fullback out of his european adventure.

as of late wednesday afternoon, cronulla were still holding out hope barba would renege on his deal with toulon, however earlier in the day he said he knew his nrl career could be over.

"if it comes to that, i might never play the game again," barba said.

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"the nrl haven't given me too much. this is probably the first time i've talked since then.

"i've got to look after my kids and my family. they're my first option. nothing's been final yet. at the moment, i'm just listening to the people that take care of me and i go from there."

something to think about: ben barba says he "might never play rugby league again".
something to think about: ben barba says he "might never play rugby league again". p o: getty images

while barba hasn't earned any money since his contract was terminated, the nrl did provide the sharks with the opportunity to pay him in a nce, however that offer wasn't taken up by the club.

barba was deep in negotiations with his mana ent on wednesday afternoon, waiting to speak with toulon officials given the time difference between the two countries.

if, or when, barba decides to return to rugby league, he will still have to pay a fine worth 5 per cent of his contract to the nrl before he is allowed to play.

it could have been a 15 per cent fine, however because cronulla decided to terminate his contract instead of suspending him, the additional 10 per cent was waived.

while barba was believed to be earning more than $500,000 last season, he would only have to pay the percentage cronulla fork out, given he was still on the books at the broncos.

"we have been working closely with the sharks on ensuring he has access to appropriate courses and programs as part of his rehabilitation," greenberg said.

"we have just given him approval to train individually at the club and be part of the sharks' community programs. that agreement meant he also had access to the club's welfare and education support services.

"if that commitment has changed then it will be taken into account when we consider whether his contract should be registered. i would hope that everyone involved in this matter is looking at how we look after ben's welfare first and foremost – and football matters should be secondary."

if he decides to follow through on his plans to play with toulon, the controversial fullback is a chance of playing in next weekend's brisbane global tens.

tournament organisers are trying to pounce on barba's shock defection and have offered to fork out a substantial fee to lure the former bronco back to suncorp stadium to make his rugby union debut in front of friends and family.

tens organisers have sent a formal invitation to toulon, inviting barba to represent the french rugby giants in brisbane next week.

"following the breaking news of ben barba going to toulon overnight, we extended a formal invitation to invite him to play as part of their squad," duco events australia chief executive rachael carroll said.

"the brisbane tens will be the first time toulon has ever played in australia, and the fast-paced 10-a-side format would make for a brilliant transition for ben barba from nrl to rugby.

"whilst ben barba is not currently listed in the toulon squad the door is certainly open for him and we think the fans would love it."