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Waratahs confirm 2019 squad and return of Wallabies Veteran

He’s back in the mix!

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Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The NSW Waratahs today unveiled the full squad via their for the 2019 Super Rugby season, with Head Coach Daryl Gibson making the final announcements to the line up.

In addition to Le Roux Roets and Karmichael Hunt who joined the squad from the Queensland Reds in a swap deal the announcement confirmed that Adam Ashley-Cooper will return to the NSW Waratahs and will officially start training next week after finishing his commitments with Japan’s Kobe Steelers side.

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Ashley-Cooper was a try-scoring hero in the Tah’s drought-breaking 2014 premiership-winning team. AAC thought he’d played his 61st and last game for the Waratahs three 3 ago when he looked to end his career in France.

But the 34-year-old found a new lease of life in Bordeaux before linking last year with Japanese Top League side Kobe Steelers.

After expressing his desire to return to Australia next season with an eye towards appearing at a fourth World Cup in 2019, the backline utility earned his 116th cap in the Wallabies’ win over Italy this month in Padova.

He and Kurtley Beale were then stood down from Australia’s season-ending loss to England at Twickenham on Saturday for taking guests back to their hotel room earlier on tour.

The Tahs were back in full pre-season training today with the return of the Wallabies squad members.

Gibson said he is excited for the season ahead and the depth within the squad he now has.

“Our squad is now finalised with just over a month to go until our first home game against the Hurricanes on 16 February at Brookvale Oval.

“One of the findings out of 2018 season review is that we played our best players too much and we needed to improve the depth of our squad. I believe the player mix we have provides that for us.

“It is great to be able to bring some of our younger players coming into the mix alongside some of the more experienced players who can help bring through that next generation. We have our great young New South Wales talent coming through and training and playing with our senior NSW Waratahs players,” said Gibson.

NSW WARATAHS 2019 SQUAD:

Cameron Clark (Northern Suburbs), Adam Ashley-Cooper (TBC), Kurtley Beale (Eastern Suburbs), Angus Bell (Sydney University), Jack Dempsey (Gordon), Ben Donaldson (Randwick), BJ Edwards (Eastern Suburbs), Damien Fitzpatrick (Eastwood), Lalakai Foketi (Eastern Suburbs), Israel Folau (Sydney University), John Folau (TBC), Bernard Foley (Sydney University), Jake Gordon (Sydney University), Ned Hanigan (Randwick), Will Harris (Eastern Suburbs), Will Harrison (Randwick), Jed Holloway (Southern Districts) Michael Hooper (Manly), Karmichael Hunt (TBC), Harry Johnson-Holmes (Sydney University), Sekope Kepu (Randwick), Tolu Latu (Sydney University), Mack Mason (Eastern Suburbs), Ryan McCauley (Eastern Suburbs), Will Miller (Northern Suburbs), Alex Newsome (Eastern Suburbs), Rory O’Connor (Warringah), Nick Phipps (Sydney University), James Ramm (Randwick), Tom Robertson (Sydney University), Le Roux Roets (TBC), Curtis Rona (TBC), JP Sauni (Parramatta), Mitch Short (Randwick), Rob Simmons (Randwick), Hugh Sinclair (Northern Suburbs), Tom Staniforth (Eastern Suburbs), Rory Suttor (Sydney University), Lachlan Swinton (Sydney University), Patrick Tafa (Northern Suburbs), Chris Talakai (Sydney University), Andrew Tuala (TBC), Shambeckler Vui (Southern Districts), Cody Walker (Eastern Suburbs), Michael Wells (Northern Suburbs), Jeremy Williams (Eastern Suburbs)

Super Rugby

Highlanders Confirm Trio of Signings

The Highlanders have announced the arrival of three new players following the departure of a host of key men at the end of last season

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(Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have confirmed the signings of Otago trio Michael Collins, Vilimoni Koroi and Sione Misiloi ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Collins, who was the Otago captain, and Misiloi have penned one-year contracts with the New Zealand based franchise.

However, Koroi, has signed a three-year deal which will see him miss the majority of next season so to allow him to be in selection contention for the All Blacks Sevens at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Koroi is probably the most exciting of the three to have arrived as he can cover fly-half, wing and full-back and at only 21 will continue to grow as a player.

The other exciting prospect for the Highlanders is that they have already signed another All Blacks youngster in Scott Gregory, who is a blossoming full-back that has lit up the stage at underage levels.

The thought of Gregory and Koroi linking up is great but both are trying to get into that Sevens team and will be out of selection contention next season.

As well as that trio and Gregory the Highlanders have also signed Connor Garden-Bachop, Mitch Hunt, Jona Nakeri and Ngane Punivai in what has been an eventful transfer period so far.

However, the signings were vital following the departure of 12 key players including the likes of Jackson Hemopo, Matt Faddes, Ben Smith, Liam Squire and Luke Whitelock.

Although it might take a bit of time to get the squad together the new signings are promising for the franchise’s future.

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Super Rugby

Sharks Add Lions Star to Squad

The Sharks have seen a number of players leave this summer, but now they have started to add some promising stars ahead of the new season

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(Photo credit PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Sharks have confirmed the signing of from the Lions ahead of the 2020 season.

Tambwe joins the side on the back of an impressive Currie Cup campaign where he scored seven tries for the Golden Lions, having scored the same number for the Lions in the 2018 Super Rugby campaign.

The 22-year-old also joins back-rower James Venter who linked up with the squad yesterday.

RugbyPass are also reporting that the Sharks are looking at bringing in Ox Nche and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, while Rugby365 also claim that the Durban-based franchise are hoping to sign Werner Kok and Henco Venter.

The side are looking to rebuild following the departure of a number of players which includes the three du Preez brothers, Coenie Oosthuizen and Akker van der Merwe, who have all headed to Sale Sharks in the Premiership.

While Andre Esterhuizen has ledt for Japan, Philip van der Walt has signed for the Newcastle Falcons in England, while they also replaced head coach Rob du Preez with Sean Everitt.

Despite the leaving players the Sharks still have the likes of S’bu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi on their roster in what is an exciting prospect ahead of the new season.

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International

Dyantyi’s B-Sample Test Results Come Back

Aphiwe Dyantyi has been accused of doping and after asking for his B-sample tests to be checked, he has learned his fate

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(Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Springboks winger Aphiwe Dyantyi has failed in his B-sample doping test after prohibited substances were found his A-sample previously.

The 25-year-old has been formally charged with having multiple anabolic steroids and metabolites in both samples that were provided to the South African Institute of Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).

SAIDS have now informed SA Rugby and Dyantyi’s Super Rugby franchise the Lions of the situation as they now decide what to do.

“SA Rugby, the Lions Rugby Company and Dyantyi are working with SAIDS, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and all other relevant authorities on the matter and no further comment can be made at this stage,” a statement read.

Last weekend the Lions player issued his own statement in which he plead his innocence before his B-sample was tested.

“I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play. I have never cheated and never will. The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed by them, we are doing everything we can to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence,” he added.

He went on to say that he would never have taken any substances and that the next sample would prove that he hadn’t.

“As a professional sportsman on the national and international level, we get tested on a regular basis. I have been tested before and again since this test. It is part of the job and we all know that each and every player is bound to get tested at least two to four times a year. Taking any prohibited substance would not only be irresponsible and something that I would never intentionally do. It would also be senseless and stupid. I underwent a drug test on June 15 (only two weeks prior to the July 2 test) which did not return any adverse finding,” he added.

Dyantyi is now facing the prospect of a four-year ban from rugby after being capped by the Springboks 13 times, however, failing to make the Rugby World Cup squad. He will have his chance prove his innocence, but he will need a seriously could case behind him to reverse the decision.

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