Rugby: NZ Kiwis enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona reportedly targeted by Wallabies in Eddie Jones' NRL raid

NZ Kiwis prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona seems to be on the radar of new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, as he plots an NRL raid to bolster his stocks for the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

After replacing Dave Rennie at the helm of the national team for a second time in his career, Jones has laid out a plan to rebuild Australia's tattered international rugby reputation, including a bid to lure some of league's top talent back to the 15-a-side code, where they started out.

"We always want to develop players in rugby first," Jones told The Sydney Morning Herald and Nine News. "That's the No.1 priority.


"No.2 is to get back players who were lost initially from rugby to rugby league due to the financial inducements that league are able to give the players. We want to get players back who are lost.

"Thirdly, at the right time, is there an opportunity to secure some talent we don't have in rugby from league? I think there is a strategic plan that needs to be put in place, but the first thing is to retain the talent we do have."

Born in Wellington, Asofa-Solomona played rugby at Wellington College, while playing club rugby league at Upper Hutt Tigers, before signing with Melbourne Storm as a 15-year-old.

At 2m (6ft 7in) and 115kg, nicknamed 'The Big NASty', the rugby league prop could slot into the second row or loose forwards in the rival code. 

Nelson Asofa-Solomona in action for Melbourne Storm against NZ Warriors
Nelson Asofa-Solomona in action for Melbourne Storm against NZ Warriors. Photo credit: Photosport

He has often speculated about a return to rugby and apparently consulted with Rennie in 2021, when he initially resisted the NRL's COVID vaccination, putting his league prospects in doubt.

While Jones did not name his targets, The Australian claims sources have identified Asofa-Solomona on the shopping list, along with rising Sydney Roosters star Joseph Sua'ali'i, Parramatta Eels centre Will Penisini and Manly fullback Tolu Koula - all schoolboy rugby stars across the Tasman. 

In his previous tenure as Wallabies coach, Jones successfully lured Wendell Sailor, Lore Tuqiri and Mat Rogers from league, and into the team than reached the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.