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Waratahs announce triple signings



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

Super Rugby

Team Naming: Whitelock Back for Waratahs Game



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The Crusaders have named their side to face the Waratahs in Round 14 of Super Rugby Pacific ’23.


It’s the team’s last home game of the regular season before we get into finals. Kick off is Saturday at 4.35pm.


Codie Taylor takes up captaincy with Scott Barrett making the most of a rest week before some big showdowns. He’s joined in the front row by Kershawl Sykes-Martin and Tamaiti Williams.


Sam Whitelock returns this week, itching to take the field after a few weeks sidelined by injury. Both Codie Taylor and Scott Robertson spoke on Thursday morning about looking forward to having his leadership and wisdom back on the grass.


The dynamic duo of Mitch Drummond and Richie Mo’unga return at halfback and first five, their routine well-polished by now.


Look for some antics and acrobatics from Leicester Fainga’anuku and Dallas McLeod on the left and right wings, and a safe pair of hands at the rear with Fergus Burke as fullback.


Reuben O’Neill is set to make his Crusaders debut off the bench this week, the current Taranaki and former Chiefs player bolstering the front row stocks. He’s slotted in well with the team during trainings, Robertson saying he was “familiar to us” and helped relieve the burden on a front row depleted by injury. Brodie McAlister and Seb Calder make up the rest of the replacement front row.


The Crusaders go into this one second on the table, the Waratahs in sixth. There’s no discounting an Aussie side still within reach of a home quarter if the cards fall right for them. Expect a big contest.

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Super Rugby

Farewell to a legend



The Highlanders will use the last home game of the year against the Reds on Friday 26th May to farewell Aaron Smith – their most capped player ever. All things going to plan Smith should play his 184th game against the Reds.

Smith joined the club in 2011 at the behest of the then new Highlander’s coach, Jamie Joseph, having previously been in the Blues wider training group, the rest as they say is history.

Widely recognised as one of the best halfbacks in the game his performances over the years have left fans, fellow players and the media in awe of his consistency, energy, skill level and competitiveness.

However, all good things come to an end and on Friday 26th May at 7.05pm Smith will suit up in his Highlanders jersey and run out of the stadium tunnel to be greeted by a home crowd for the last time, from next year he is signed to play in the Japanese League.

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark appreciates it will be a significant moment in the club’s history.

“Aaron has given so much to the club and rugby public in this region. Saying good-bye is not a moment that many will be looking forward to, but he so richly deserves this one last opportunity to sign off an amazing Highlanders career in front of his home crowd.  No doubt It will be a very special occasion for Aaron, Teagan and his children Luka and Leo, we hope it will be a night to remember for all.”

Head Coach Clarke Dermody acknowledges it will be an extra special night for his All-Black halfback.

“He’s been leading our team around the park for the last decade or so and he epitomises everything that a professional player should be – always prepared, highly skilled, competitive, and passionate about his team. He deserves all the recognition he gets, and he has worked very hard for it. Knowing Aaron, he will treat it like any other week, go through his routines, preparing accurately and give it his best on the night. I know I won’t be alone in reflecting on his enormous contribution to rugby in our region as his last home game comes to an end.”

Fans will have another opportunity to watch the master in action when the Highlanders take on the Rebels this Saturday at 4.35pm.

Book your seat to witness history here 


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Super Rugby

Team Naming: Fainga’anuku and Jager mark 50 Games in Blues Showdown



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Quin Strange, Christian Lio-Willie, Tom Christie and Cullen Grace round out the back five. Earlier in the week veteran prop Joe Moody said, “we know we have the power throughout our back give, so…we need to keep the front row up so we can utilise that power”. Expect a big push through these guys, hoping to reap rewards. 


Mitchell Drummond resumes his starting position at halfback after Noah Hotham started last week. The youngest ever player to clock 100 games for the franchise, Drummond brings maturity and huge experience. He lines up alongside Richie Mo’unga. When these two long-term team mates are on the field together, intuition is high. 


Leicester Fainga’anuku runs the left wing, Dallas McLeod runs the right. These guys are a different breed, so keep an eye out for straight line breaks and aerial acrobatics.  


David Havili and Braydon Ennor round out the centre, with playmaker Will Jordan in fullback for his second start of the season.  


There you have it. All that’s left is the anticipation of kick off. Crusaders v Blues. The showdown is on.  


Will you be there?


Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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