5 Mar 2015

Locke code-switch called off

12:41 pm on 5 March 2015

The former Warriors fullback Kevin Locke will remain in rugby league after a deal to switch codes and play rugby in Scotland was called off.

Kevin Locke lines up a penalty kick for Salford Red Devils, 2014.

Kevin Locke lines up a penalty kick for Salford Red Devils, 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Locke went as far as agreeing personal terms and the Scottish Rugby Union also settled the terms of release from his three-year contract with Super League club Salford, however a senior spokesman for the SRU says the move is off.

The SRU was given permission by Salford owner Marwan Koukash to talk to the 25-year-old and the Kiwis international met officials last week to discuss a switch of codes.

"The Scottish RU has now dropped interest in Locke after failing to come to any positive

decision regarding the possibility of him changing codes," the SRU spokesman says.

"Marwan Koukash gave us permission to speak to the player but we could not reach a further agreement to bring him to rugby union.

"This now ends our interest in the player."

Locke, who was asked to submit proof of his Scottish heritage, is now expected to remain with the Red Devils but Koukash has warned that he cannot expect to get straight back in the team.

Locke missed Saturday's win over Hull with a recurrence of a groin injury and has been told he must face competition from Salford's two other fullbacks, Niall Evalds and Ben Jones-Bishop.

"He's most welcome to stay," Koukash says.

"But he needs to work hard in training and, when his chance comes, he needs to grab it with both hands.

"Reputations count for nothing. What he has done previously doesn't count."

Locke, who played for New Zealand in the 2013 World Cup final, joined the Red Devils last June after Koukash secured his early release from the Warriors.

Locke lost his No.1 jersey at the Warriors to England's Sam Tomkins and made six appearances towards the back end of last season for Salford, but has appeared only once so far this year.