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Waratahs Aiming High Ahead of New Campaign

The Waratahs have had their challenges over the past few months, but they have high hopes ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby campaign

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(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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.

Rugby Championship

Rebels confirm big name departures

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Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

The Melbourne Rebels have confirmed a host of players will depart at the end of the season, led by Wallabies Marika Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty.

In an announcement on Friday, the club revealed Koroibete will head to Japan in 2022 following his Wallabies commitments.

The 28-year-old was named Players’ Player following an outstanding 2021 campaign, with the winger scoring 23 tries during his 69 games with the club.

He will be joined in Japan by Isi Naisarani, who will leave the club after playing 31 games since 2019.

Koroibete runs over Gatland

Meanwhile, Haylett-Petty, who was named captain for the past three years, will not return as he explores his options.

Haylett-Petty did not feature in 2021 as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Along with this, Frank Lomani will return back home to Fiji, with the halfback named in their squad to face New Zealand in July.

Lock Steve Cummins has also signed a multi-year deal with French side Section Paloise in the Top 14.

Their departing list is rounded out by Tom Pincus, who they confirmed will move into his post-Rugby career.

The club has confirmed that they will retain the majority of their squad from 2021, with 27 players contracted for the 2022 season.

Source – Australia Rugby

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Wallabies hooker heading to France after Reds’ farewell

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Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

WALLABIES hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa will make an emotional farewell to Suncorp Stadium on Friday night after revealing he has signed a two-year deal with French club Montpellier.

The popular Paenga-Amosa’s final home game for the Queensland Reds will have special significance against the Auckland-based Blues.

“I was born in Auckland and grew up going for the Blues. I had a couple of Blues’ jerseys as a boy so this is a game I really want to play well in and get the win for Queensland,” Paenga-Amosa said.

Wallabies boss Dave Rennie showed his liking for the BPA package of hustle, nous around the ball and scrum strength by picking him as starting hooker in five Tests last season.

Rugby’s favourite ex-garbo will be a loss for Australian rugby because, at, 25, he should be approaching his peak years as a hardened hooker after four seasons of professional rugby.

“It’s going to be hard to leave this place. I love Queensland and I love representing the Queensland jersey,” Paenga-Amosa said.

“I’m waiting to know if the Wallabies want me as part of the Test program. If so I would stay, for sure, until December when my contract finishes.”

Isaac Henry goes over after a great pill from Tate McDermott.

Paenga-Amosa, a six-month husband to bride Rina, said he’d made the call to head to France for family reasons and it’s in his plans to return.

“Essentially, it came down to wanting to set up my family financially for the future,” Paenga-Amosa said.

“I’m not big on going overseas at the end of my career after I turn 30.

“For me, it’s more going over now, enjoying the travel when we’re young and coming back to settle down with kids later on. Rina will keep BPA in check.

“Definitely, I want to come back. I want to retire in Australia.”

You can now understand all the emotion that poured out of Paenga-Amosa when the Reds won the Super Rugby AU title in dramatic style.

“Winning that title was everything. The dream would have been to win both but I still want to finish off the year strongly and hopefully the Wallabies want me,” he said.

Damian McKenzie gets his marching orders after a high shot on Tate McDermott.

Paenga-Amosa said the 33-3 first half to the Reds’ 40-34 win over the Chiefs in Townsville last weekend was pure adrenalin for the team.

“The biggest thing was, we played our game plan, played our structures, because doing what we planned to do was the first time for a while,” he said.

“We nailed all our individual jobs. We all stood up together and we’re keen for the challenge the Blues will bring to Suncorp.”

Paenga-Amosa and halfback Moses Sorovi, from Yam Island in the Torres Strait, said they were proud to be wearing the Reds’ Indigenous jersey in this match.

On Monday, as the Queensland Rugby Union’s Indigenous Program Ambassadors, they attended the “Deadly Threads” exhibition at the State Library of Queensland where the previous nine Reds’ Indigenous jerseys were on display.

“For me, I grew up in Gadigal land in Sydney and was always a big advocate for representing the Indigenous,” Paenga-Amosa said.

“It’s the connection. I love playing for the people I’m representing and it means a lot to me to represent First Nations’ people.

“It’s not just about rugby. Our Future Indigenous Leaders Program in Queensland is about seeing Indigenous youngsters rise, actually brown kids in general rise, and not being part of the stereotype.”

Since the Future Indigenous Leaders Program (FLIP) was born in 2013, it has helped prepared young people for trades, university courses and leadership in their communities.

The FLIP is a program run by the QRU in partnership with Rio Tinto in the communities of Cherbourg and Woorabinda where students in Years 6-10 with leadership potential are offered mentoring and support.

FLIP student Delphine Cecil designed this year’s Reds’ Indigenous jersey. She drew on memories of the stars and Australian countryside to maintain her strong connection to her home town when she moved from Woorabinda to boarding school in Yeppoon.

Source – Australia Rugby

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Super Rugby

Crusaders team named to face the Reds in Brisbane

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The Crusaders are preparing for their first trip across the Tasman since March last year, and will travel to Brisbane today ahead of their match against the Reds on Saturday night.

As well as making a few changes to the side this week, Head Coach Scott Robertson has named three additional players for the Crusaders two-match tour to Australia, with Fletcher Newell, Nathan Vella and Fergus Burke all set to make the trip.

In the team to play the Reds, prop Oliver Jager will start and Michael Alaalatoa has been named on the bench. Codie Taylor will once again lead the side, while regular Captain Scott Barrett is recovering after being medically ruled out of last week’s game against the Brumbies. The Crusaders have opted to give Barrett this week off as well, but he is expected to join the team in Australia next week.

Tom Sanders also won’t make the trip to Brisbane later today due to a nasal fracture, and has been replaced by Ethan Blackadder as the starting number seven against the Reds. Whetukamokamo Douglas will wear the number six jersey.

In the backs, Mitchell Drummond and Will Jordan both return from a rest to start at halfback and fullback respectively, while Sevu Reece takes the right wing spot in place of Manasa Mataele. It’s a timely return for Jordan, with George Bridge also ruled out of the Crusaders touring squad after having his appendix removed this week.

Finally, Sione Havili Talitui makes a welcome return from concussion to provide loose forward cover in the reserves.

Crusaders team to play the Reds:

1.  George Bower

2.  Codie Taylor (C)

3.  Oliver Jager

4.  Mitchell Dunshea

5.  Samuel Whitelock

6.  Whetukamokamo Douglas

7.  Ethan Blackadder

8.  Cullen Grace

9.   Mitchell Drummond

10. Richie Mo’unga

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku

12. David Havili (VC)

13. Braydon Ennor

14. Sevu Reece

15. Will Jordan

RESERVES:

16. Brodie McAlister

17. Tamaiti Williams

18. Michael Alaalatoa

19. Quinten Strange

20. Sione Havili Talitui

21. Bryn Hall

22. Dallas McLeod

23. Manasa Mataele

Other players travelling to Australia for the Crusaders matches against the Reds and Waratahs: Fletcher Newell, Nathan Vella, Fergus Burke.

Source – Crusaders Rugby

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