The NSW Waratahs are pleased to announce the signing of loosehead prop Tom Lambert on a two-year deal, bolstering the team’s front-row stocks ahead of their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
A product of the NSW pathways, born in Sydney and schooled at Trinity Grammar School, Lambert represented Australian Schools and was part of the Waratahs Academy before heading overseas to Scotland in 2020.
Lambert represented Scotland’s under-20s side during the 2020 Six Nations and signed with Glasgow Warriors on an academy contract before graduating to the main team in 2021.
The Australia-born prop has spent two seasons with the Warriors and brings invaluable European front-row experience to the Waratahs ahead of their 2023 campaign.
Lambert was delighted to return home and the opportunity to represent the Waratahs.
“It’s a bit surreal for me to come back and sign for the Waratahs,” Lambert said.
“I was in the Academy here when I left school but made the move to Glasgow to gain some experience abroad and play for the Scotland U20’s side and with the Warriors in the United Rugby Championship.
“The move abroad was great for my rugby development, especially my set piece, and something I hope can benefit the team.
“Being born in NSW, I always aspired to come back and play for the Waratahs so I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to rip in.”
Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman said “Tom is a good young prop that came through the NSW pathways and has furthered his rugby development abroad.
“He’s had two good years in a strong professional program in Glasgow and will add valuable depth to our front row stock, particularly on the loosehead side where Angus Bell carried a lot of the load last year.
“We’ve been impressed with the impact that Lambert has been making for Sydney Uni in the Shute Shield since arriving back and we’re looking forward to him developing further in our program.”
Chay Fihaki Re-Signs with the Crusaders
Dynamic young utility back Chay Fihaki has re-signed with the Crusaders presenting exciting prospects for the team taking the field in the 2023 season.
Fihaki signed with the Crusaders in 2020 as a 19 year old and has since gone from strength to strength, playing seven matches in the red and black and showing great potential.
During his youth career, Fihaki played through the midfield, but as he has progressed through Canterbury and Crusaders’ development pathways, he has nestled into a role at fullback.
Fihaki’s mission for 2023 will be to soak up as much knowledge as possible from some of his All Black teammates.
“I’m feeling excited about the season coming up. 2023 will be another year for me to grow, especially learning off the more senior players and All Blacks,” Fihaki said.
“My focus will definitely be on being more confident and backing my skillset.”
Fihaki’s X-Factor has been outlined by Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson, who said, “Chay has a massive boot and the ability to create something from nothing”.
Keep an eye out for Fihaki this season in the red and black!
NSW Waratahs secure schoolboy talent Max Jorgensen
The NSW Waratahs have secured the services of one of the brightest schoolboy rugby talents in Australia, signing Max Jorgensen.
Max Jorgensen, son of former Wallaby and NRL player Peter Jorgensen, is currently in Year 12 at St Joseph’s College and has spent three years in the NSW system representing the Waratahs Academy at U15, U16, and U18 age levels.
The talented outside back spent time in Nathan Grey’s Junior Wallabies program earlier this year and has been named in the Waratahs Development team to take on a Brumbies XV at St Edmunds College this Saturday in Canberra.
Max Jorgensen said: “I’m proud to be on board with the Waratahs, they have a terrific setup, and the new Centre of Excellence looks amazing.
“I am excited by the opportunities in rugby over the next few years and looking forward to playing high-quality rugby with some amazing players at the Waratahs.
“I’m focused on having a great pre-season and can’t wait to learn from the coaching staff and experienced teammates.”
Waratahs Head Coach, Darren Coleman said: “Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after.
“It’s great he has decided to remain at the Waratahs especially after spending the past three years in our academy.
“Max understands he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before he can become a fully-fledged Super Rugby player, but we look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game.”
ACT Brumbies sign Sevens star Ben O’Donnell
The ACT Brumbies are excited to announce the addition of outside-back Ben O’Donnell to the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad until the end of 2024.
The 26-year-old returns to Australia after a three-year stint in Ireland with Connacht, having previously represented Australia in Sevens on 95 occasions, winning Rugby Australia’s coveted Shawn Mackay award for Sevens player of the year in 2018.
O’Donnell is in line to wear ACT colours for the first time in Saturday’s practice match against a NSW Waratahs development side at St. Edmund’s College.
ACT Brumbies outside-back, Ben O’Donnell said: “I’m excited to be back in Australia and to be joining such a highly respected club like the ACT Brumbies.”
“Playing in Connacht was an unreal experience and I’m grateful for my time there and the mates I made but I’m looking forward to working every day with a world-class coaching staff and the boys here who have created a great culture from everything I have heard.
“Preseasons never get any easier but I’m excited for the hard work and especially looking forward to having a run around with my new teammates on Saturday.”
ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: “Ben will be a quality addition to our group.”
“Ben was a very accomplished 7s player, and he’s made a good transition to 15s, but we feel he’s got a great chance to develop further in our environment.
“With his pace and feel for the game, Ben’s an option across the backline and we’re excited to see how he goes on Saturday.”
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