The shocking confession came about when the Australian rugby star, renowned for his larrikin commentary, was signed as this year’s leading man.
Asked by producers if he had a ‘type’, he quickly named Sophie as his ideal partner, even asking if there was a chance of bringing the blonde bombshell back for another season.
‘He wanted her in,’ the source spills. ‘He just reckons they’d click if they got the time together on romantic dates because they have that same sharp wit and Sophie is always saying she wants a good old Aussie bloke. He understands that she can’t move into the mansion with the other girls but he wondered if there was a possibility of her arriving as an intruder for a while.’
And confirming that she’s still single after she parted ways with her own show’s intruder – and her possible ‘perfect match’ – millionaire Stu Laundy, excited everyone.
‘It’s not just Nick that thinks they would be good together,’ says the source. ‘As soon as he mentioned it everyone who had worked with Soph on the last series could see it.’
But having signed to a rival television station to front Love Island, Sophie was unavailable to take part due to her contractual obligations.
However, Nick’s confession sent the shows bosses into a panic, having to call ‘emergency meetings’ regarding his specific requirements.
‘Basically, when they went through his list of likes and dislikes on paper, the girls needed to still be similar to Sophie,’ says the spy. ‘He wanted someone laid-back, down to earth, and with an ability to laugh at herself.’
Also listing ‘a bit of a tomboy’, and ‘pretty blondes’, as his preference, the crew was left scrambling at the last minute to rearrange everything.
‘Most of the girls were already cast,’ says the spy. ‘Applications had been open since Matty J’s show ended and at that time no Bachelor was signed up and Nick wasn’t really on anyone’s radar because nobody knew how successful Sophie’s season would be,’ the source added.
Concerned that Nick may not like the line-up of mostly Instagram models, drama queens and showoffs, a last-ditch casting call was sent out to try and find girls better suited to the curly-haired singleton.
‘There was some swapping out and some re-interviews and a few new faces added,’ says the insider. ‘But in the end, they are confident Nick will forget all about Sophie.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.