Waratahs veteran Jed Holloway believes that the Australian outfit have benefitted from the arrival of young players and they are aiming to challenge for the title this season.
The franchise have suffered several blows over the past few months with experienced players such as Sekope Kepu, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona and Tolu Latu all heading for the exit door.
Despite their Wallabies exodus the team still contains several internationals including Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Jack Dempsey and Rob Simmons and Holloway thinks that players are trying to put themselves forward to fill the holes of the departed.
“I think all the senior, more capped guys have really found themselves stepping up like Ned, Jake, Lalakai (Foketi) Tom (Staniforth). If we don’t continue the legacy of Keps, and all those guys that have left, then we won’t be much of a team. We need to continue to do that and continue to drive those standards and drive new standards as well and create our own path,” he said.
Holloway, who has recently returned from a short stint in Ireland with Munster, has confirmed that the current crop of players believe that they can win the title come the end of the season and wants the team to show they are capable.
“Internally our vision is to win a Super Rugby title every year, so we feel like we’re doing the right thing at training. Hopefully we get to show that to the crowd and the public come round one,” he added.
With all of the players leaving the Tahs received a massive boost last week when they signed exciting young back Jack Maddocks, who is a sevens star as well as carving a growing reputation in union.
Holloway is confident and according to him the rest of the camp are too, but if they are to become contenders for the title they will have to hit the ground running with a trip to defending three-time champions, Crusaders, up first on February 1st.
With games against the Highlanders and Queensland Reds to follow in what is a tough start, but we will have to see how things unfold.
Argentine winger to join Highlanders in 2023
The Highlanders have added their last player to their 2023 squad with the signing of Argentinian, Martin Bogado.
The 24-year-old winger/fullback is currently assembled with Michael Cheika’s Los Pumas on their UK and European tour. In July he had two outings for an Argentinian XV against Portugal and Georgia and has been playing in the French Top 14 competition for Bayonne.
Bogado is a physical outside back and at 1.91m and 97kg he has the size and pace to cause opposition’s defence problems. He is not the first Argentinian to further his rugby ambitions by playing Super Rugby, Pumas Captain Pablo Matera played for the Crusaders in 2022.
Bogado is looking forward to the rugby and life experience.
“I am extremely excited to be joining the Highlanders. To have the opportunity to play Super Rugby in New Zealand and to represent such a prestigious team is a dream for me.
The move to New Zealand represents a fantastic challenge, and one I had to accept.
New Zealand’s rugby culture and the New Zealand culture in general is something I greatly admire and I’m sure that this experience will help me to grow on and off the field. I want to continue improving as a player and become the very best I can be. I have no doubt the Highlanders is the perfect place to achieve this.
I want to thank the coaching staff, club management and everyone at Highlanders for showing faith in me. I will be giving everything for the club, my new team-mates, and the fans.”
Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, has also welcomed the arrival.
“We were looking for someone to complement our current group of outside backs and Martin fits the bill perfectly. His physical attributes and ability to compete in the air will be of benefit to us.
He is very keen to come out and try a new environment and to further his game. He is clearly talented having already picked up a few games for an Argentinian XV and we believe he is an exciting prospect for us and the future.”
Bogado has signed a two-year deal and will join the team early in the New Year.
ACT Brumbies promote pathways playmakers
The ACT Brumbies have promoted pathways playmakers Klayton Thorn and Nathan Carroll to the club’s 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific squad.
Both standouts in this year’s Bentspoke John I Dent Cup, Carroll was instrumental in Queanbeyan’s run to the title, impressing with his ability to find space and his accuracy off the tee.
Comfortable at fullback and flyhalf, the 22-year-old was top scorer for Brothers Rugby club in the Hospital cup before joining the Brumbies’ pathways program at the end of 2021, training full-time with the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad during their 2022 campaign.
ACT Brumbies flyhalf, Nathan Carroll said: “Joining the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad is a dream come true.”
“Coming down to Canberra has been the best decision I’ve ever made, and I just want to thank the Brumbies pathways staff, especially Dan Hooper for their support and of course, everyone at Queanbeyan who made me feel so welcome and I’ve made friends for life there.
“Obviously playing Super Rugby is the goal now but I know that starts with having a good preseason this year and working hard every day on my game.”
Halfback Thorn developed in the Brumbies Academy program in 2022, and graduates straight to the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad to continue his development with Ryan Lonergan and Nic White.
A Randwick junior, Thorn has been in excellent form for the ACT Brumbies u19s side having excelled at senior club level with Gungahlin Eagles this season.
ACT Brumbies halfback, Klayton Thorn said: “I’m really excited to be stepping up to the senior squad.”
“Growing up playing for Randwick, you’re aware of all the players who’ve made the move to Canberra to join the Brumbies and with two absolutely world class nines at the club, it’s the best place for me to learn and develop.”
Carroll and Thorn’s graduation means a total of six Brumbies pathways players will join the club’s 2023 Super Rugby Pacific squad, with outside backs Corey Toole and Declan Meredith, backrow Charlie Cale and prop Harry Vella also stepping up to the senior group.
ACT Brumbies General Manager Professional rugby and pathways, Chris Thomson said: “Firstly, I must congratulate (former General Manager Professional rugby and pathways) Chris Tindall and our pathways staff for their work in identifying and developing these players for them to now earn the chance to join our Super Rugby squad.”
“Both Klayton and Nathan are in a fantastic spot in their careers where they can come into an established group and contribute while learning and developing at the same time, but they’ve earned this opportunity and with a really important preseason ahead of them, our job as a
high-performance staff is to make sure they are ready to go if required.”
NSW Waratahs 2023 Super Rugby Pacific squad revealed
The NSW Waratahs have today announced their squad for the upcoming 2023 Super Rugby Pacific competition, unveiling a mix of fresh faces, returning Test stars, and a commitment to developing pathways talent.
Headlining the Waratahs 2023 squad is the return of Wallabies Kurtley Beale, Tolu Latu, and Fijian Test star Nemani Nadolo.
Beale returns from France where he spent two seasons with Racing 92, bringing invaluable experience to the Waratahs outside backs. Beale will become the all-time most-capped Waratah next season, currently sitting one cap behind Benn Robinson.
Tolu Latu also returns from a stint in France with Stade Francais, adding Test experience to the Waratah’s already impressive hooker stocks.
Fiji Test Superstar Nemani Nadolo returns to the Waratahs, where he was originally contracted in 2008.
One of world rugby’s box office players, Nadolo joins the Waratahs with an illustrious Test and club resume, adding a wealth of knowledge, size, and experience to the outside backs.
The second-row stocks have been bolstered with a mixture of youth and experience with the signings of Taleni Seu (Chiefs), Zac Von Appen (Sydney Uni), and Zane Marolt (ACT Brumbies).
Harrison Goddard adds depth at scrumhalf, linking up with Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman whom he won two titles in two seasons under at Gordon and the LA Giltinis in Major League Rugby.
The Waratahs’ development pathway continues to provide the side plenty of talent, with Teddy Wilson, Harry Wilson, Ben Dowling, and Jack Bowen all promoted into the full-time playing squad for the 2023 season.
Max Jorgensen joins the side for pre-season after graduating through the Waratahs Gen Blue Academy Pathway where he has played a starring role since the U15 age level.
Waratahs General Manager of Rugby Andrew Blades said “The squad is shaping up nicely for our 2023 campaign with the addition of some key experienced players to complement our younger core.
“Our squad has benefitted immensely from the Australia A program with many of the squad getting high-quality experience against Test match opposition, helping accelerate their development.
“We now are in the position where our squad has 15 players with Test experience and a further eight who have been involved in the Australia A program.
“Our pathways are looking incredibly strong, and we are delighted with the continuing number of players graduating into our full-time squad.”
The Waratahs open their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific against the Brumbies on Friday 24 February at Allianz Stadium.
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NSW Waratahs 2023 Playing Squad
Angus Bell (Sydney University), Tiaan Taukipulu (Randwick), Te Tera Faulkner (Southern Districts), Harry Johnson-Holmes (Sydney University), Tom Lambert (Sydney University), Archer Holz (Eastern Suburbs)
David Porecki (Manly), Mahe Vailanu (Gordon), Tolu Latu (Sydney University)
Jed Holloway (Southern Districts), Hugh Sinclair (Northern Suburbs), Zane Marolt (Eastern Suburbs), Taleni Seu (TBC), Zac Von Appen (Sydney University)
Lachie Swinton (Sydney University), Michael Hooper (Manly), Will Harris (Eastern Suburbs), Ned Hanigan (Randwick), Langi Gleeson (Manly), Charlie Gamble (Eastern Suburbs)
Jake Gordon (Sydney University), Teddy Wilson (Eastern Suburbs), Harrison Goddard (Gordon), Tane Edmed (Eastwood), Ben Donaldson (Randwick), Jack Bowen (Eastern Suburbs)
Joey Walton (Gordon), Lalakai Foketi (Manly), Izaia Perese (Randwick), Mosese Tuipulotu (Eastern Suburbs)
Harry Wilson (Eastwood), Will Harrison (Randwick)
Mark Nawaqanitawase (Eastwood), Dylan Pietsch (Randwick), Nemani Nadolo (TBC), Kurtley Beale (Randwick), Ben Dowling (Randwick), Max Jorgensen (TBC)
Waratahs Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Darren Coleman
Forwards Coach: Pauli Taumoepeau
Backs Coach: Chris Whitaker
Defence Coach: Jason Gilmore
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