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Waratahs announce triple signings

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The NSW Waratahs have bolstered their second-row stocks with a mixture of youth and experience with the signing of Taleni Seu, Zac Von Appen, and Zane Marolt ahead of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Seu, born and raised in Auckland and schooled at Onehunga High School, was part of the Blues academy before moving to the Chiefs where he made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 under current Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

The New Zealand-born lock spent four seasons and amassed 44 caps with the Chiefs before moving abroad to join his current side Toyota Industries Shuttles in Japan Rugby League One.
Seu, who cuts an imposing figure at 201cm and 119kgs and adds significant size to Darren Coleman’s forward pack, is excited to play Super Rugby again.

“I am excited to join the Waratahs for the 2023 season. After having a chat with Darren Coleman, I can see what his vision is for the group and how he wants to build on a good 2022 season. The team sounds like a tight group, and I can’t wait to get to work,” Seu said.

“After being in Japan, I’m looking forward to getting back into the competitiveness of Super Rugby, while developing my game under some quality coaches.

“My wife and I have family in Sydney, so it’s going to be a good fit and we are really looking forward to our move later in the year.”

Zac Von Appen who joins the side on a wider training squad contract graduated through St Augustine’s College and has made a big contribution to Sydney University’s run to the Shute Shield Grand Final.

Von Appen comes from a high-performance background after representing Australia in rowing at the U23 World Championships, while his father Mario von Appen won an Olympic gold medal as a kayaker with Germany at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and his mother represented Australia at the World Championships, also as a kayaker.

“It’s a real privilege for me to join the Waratahs program, and something that I don’t take for granted,” Von Appen said.

“During my time rowing, I would train twice a day, six times a week, and worked at a bottle shop to support myself.

“To be able to join the program on a full-time basis and dedicate myself to the team I’ve supported since I was a kid is incredibly special to myself and my family. I cannot wait to get stuck in.”

Zane Marolt, born and raised in Queanbeyan, is a product of St Edmonds College and currently plays his club rugby for Queanbeyan Whites.

The 22-year-old lock also joins the team on a wider training contract after spending the past four years in the Brumbies Academy.

The 202cm lock is no stranger to the Waratahs coaching staff, as he was selected in Jason Gilmore’s Australian U20 side in 2020 and featured for the Brumbies Runners against the Waratahs A side earlier this season.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to join the Waratahs,” Marolt said.

“The team is trending in the right direction, and I feel this is the best place for my development as a player.

“I can’t wait to get started, work hard, and push my case to hopefully make my Super Rugby debut in 2023.”

Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman was pleased with the mixture of youth and experience the trio brings to the squad.

“We needed to bolster our second-row stocks in the squad, and I’m really excited with the balance we have achieved with the arrival of these three recruits”, Coleman said.

“Taleni will help us with our short-term needs with his experience, size, and physicality while with Zane and Zac, we are keeping one eye on the future as they are a couple of good long-term prospects.

“We feel all three will make a great contribution to our squad ahead of our 2023 Super Rugby campaign.”

Content & Images from – Waratahs Rugby


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All Blacks halfback Folau Fakatava taking no chances in race to be fit for 2023 World Cup

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“In rugby you can’t control when you get injured,” Fakatava told Newshub. “All you can do is come back stronger.”

And with the World Cup kicking off in September, that’s exactly what the two test All Black plans to do.

Fakatava got a taste of international rugby in 2022 – he was part of the All Blacks squad all year but was limited to just two appearances off the bench before his season ended.

“I was really hurt when I heard I’d torn my ACL,” he continued. “But at the same time, you really can’t do anything about it.”

But as Fakatava chases one of three halfback spots in Ian Foster’s World Cup squad, he’s taken matters into his own hands.

“I’ve decided not to do the surgery,” he revealed. “My goal this year is to be back out there for the World Cup.”

A third ACL surgery would’ve ruled him out of contention for France, as a conversation with the All Blacks doctor James McGarvey reassured Fakatava avoiding surgery could work.

“He had a look at my other knee, and found out there’s no ACL in that. 

“That gave me confidence to hopefully do that with my other one.”

There are protections in place to ensure Fakatava is back on the field as close to the start of Super Rugby as possible.

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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Reds, Wild Knights partnership continues to provide opportunities for Queensland Rugby

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The Queensland’s Reds’ partnership with the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights continues to reap benefits, with Buildcorp Reds Academy Ryan Schultz travelling to Japan to undertake professional development under Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans.

Schultz, who coaches Queensland’s U18 side and the Anglican Church Grammar School First XV outfit, spent 11-days immersed in the League One program, learning directly from Deans and his coaching group in Saitama.

Schultz was a part of two game days and a full training week, a unique and exclusive opportunity made possible by Queensland’s relationship with their sister-state club.

“I was fully immersed in their training week,” Schultz said. 

“I was involved in coaching meetings, player meetings, leadership meetings and their training sessions.

“Luckily enough they had a B’s game on the Saturday, followed by Sunday where they played Toyota Verblitz so I got that full week experience of game to game.”

Schultz relished the opportunity to learn from Deans, who has delivered the Wild Knights five premierships in his eight-year tenure.

“It was awesome to be able to see Robbie Deans as a head coach and leader,” Schultz said.

“Seeing him operate behind the scenes, in the meeting rooms with coaches and players, and then on the training paddock was awesome.

“He’s been there for eight seasons so it’s a really well-established program and a real player-led environment.

“The field belongs to the players, so it was really good to see that in real-time and then how that’s developed away from the training paddock.”

Now back in Australia, Schultz will bring his learnings to Queensland’s next generation of Reds with his role as head coach of the Reds U18s and Tier 2 Academy squad.

From the attacking focus of the Japanese game, to Deans’ emphasis on core skills, Schultz has returned from his trip as a better coach.

“Robbie has a big philosophy around accuracy coming first – that technical skill development,” Schultz said.

“Being able to execute skills under pressure is a big thing, so I think how we develop that in our training programs at the Reds will be really important.

“At the moment we’re focusing a lot on technical skill development, so it really reinforced what we’ve been planning and implementing here.

“Japan play exciting, attacking footy over there, there’s a lot less focus on kicking and more around attack.

“I was able to pick up a lot of detail around the attacking part of the game and the skillset.

Following Queensland’s inaugural tour to Japan last October, Schultz’s visit is another example of the partnership paying dividends for Queensland Rugby.

“It’s an awesome partnership,” Schultz said.

“I know the Reds squad really enjoyed their tour on November and being there and talking to the Panasonic staff about it, it was really beneficial to them.

“To be able to over and learn and grow, and then bring that back to our Academy is really exciting.”

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby


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Former English International to join the Highlanders

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English first-five Freddie Burns will join the Highlanders for the 2023 edition of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. Burns, currently playing for Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership has agreed terms with the Highlanders, and with the support of Leicester, will land in New Zealand prior to the first round.

The 32-year-old Burns will bring with him a wealth of experience having started his first-class career with Gloucester back in 2010. His first turn at Leicester was between 2014-2017 before three seasons with Bath and Burns has over 200 appearances in the Premiership to his name. In 2021 he had a short sojourn in Japan before returning to Leicester for the 2022 season.

A former England U20 representative he represented the senior side five times most notably debuting against the All Blacks in 2012, replacing Owen Farrell, in their 38-21 victory.

A prolific goal kicker and tactically sound first-five, who can also play fullback, he was the toast of Leicester when he dropkicked the winning goal for the Tigers against Saracens in the 2022 Gallagher Premiership final.

Burns is looking forward to the experience.

“As a young lad I grew up watching Super rugby in the early hours of morning. To have the opportunity to represent such a prestigious club as the Highlanders in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season is a huge honour. I look forward to getting started and adding to the group both on and off the field”

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody has welcomed the arrival of the experienced playmaker.

“Having a player of Freddie’s calibre available to us in such a crucial position is a real boost for the squad. Last year we were exposed at 10 due to a run of injuries and while we covered the situation, we were asking a lot of Sam Gilbert and Vili Koroi who are not regular starting first-fives. Freddie’s arrival will provide us with that extra insurance against that scenario playing out again in 2023”.

Burns will be the second international back to be added to Dermody’s 2023 squad with Argentinian outside back Martin Bogado also set to play in Highlanders colours.

 

ENDS

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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