Reds still 'mates' with pay-cut rebels
MELBOURNE - The Reds players harbour no ill will towards Wallabies lock Izack Rodda and two other team mates for rebelling against pay-cuts, the Super Rugby team's captain Liam Wright said.
Rodda, flyhalf Isaac Lucas and lock Harry Hockings were released from their contracts last week after refusing to take pay-cuts signed off by the players union and governing body amid a financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus shutdown.
The three have been criticised heavily by former players and pundits for their stance, which has effectively ended their career in Australian rugby for the foreseeable future.
Wright, however, said the trio's departure could bring the rest of the Reds playing group closer.
"It'll definitely be a positive for us," Wright told reporters on Monday.
"We've lost some good mates but they'll still be our mates and they've made their decision. This group can only get stronger through it.
"It just makes sure that everyone who wants to be here is really willing to put in."
Rodda missed out of the Reds captaincy to South Africa-born flanker Wright and there were reports of friction between the lock and the team's hard-nosed coach Brad Thorn.
The three players, who are all managed by the same agent, are expected to look overseas for playing opportunities.
"I can't comment on their motivations," said Wright.
"All I know is that we all had a decision to make.
"They've been able to make theirs and consequences will come from that.
"We have a lot of guys here who made the decision to stick with us and that's something I'm very proud of and I think speaks a lot to the culture that we've got building here."