Houston to return to Australia?

Date published: February 25 2016

Bath back-row Leroy Houston could be on his way back to Australia if Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has his way.

Cheika is set to visit Europe for the last round of the Six Nations and hopes to speak to all Wallabies who qualify to play for him under the Australian Rugby Union's foreign policy rule which was introduced last year.

Under that rule, players with 60 Test caps or more can still play for the Wallabies. Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Sekope Kepu, Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper are the players who Cheika will be talking to as well as Quade Cooper even though he is two Tests shy of the 60-cap mark.

Cheika revealed, however, that talking with his Test veterans is not his only mission. He is also keen to talk to several Australians playing overseas who he would like to see return to Australia to play Super Rugby, and Houston appears to be one of them.

“I’ll go and have a few cups of coffee and see what is going on,” Cheika told Australia's Daily Telegraph.

“I do (have a list of names) but I wouldn’t really like to say at this stage, because they’re in contracts at this stage. 

"They guys I suppose we want to let them know we are impressed with what they’re doing over there, and want them to consider coming home to play Super Rugby.

“You have a classic case in point there in a guy like Leroy Houston,” Cheika said of players lost by Australia too early.

“The guy was in and out of different franchises and he has gone over and killed it with Bath in the last year or two. There are lots of players like that.

“The important thing for us is identifying that they’re there and then making the effort to have a chat.

“They may be totally happy over there but at least we are opening up a dialogue to say what’s going on, what are you thinking, this is what I am thinking. We may only get one player back but if that’s player more, it’s for the better.”

29-year-old Houston made his name with the Waratahs and toured with the Wallabies in 2005 before switching to the Reds in 2008. 

He also represented the Australia 'A' side before heading to France in 2011 where he played for UBB and Colomiers. He joined Bath in 2013.