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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)

Premiership

Saracens Set to Land South African Starlet

Saracens have had their struggles of late but it appears as though despite everything they remain active in the transfer market and are preparing to sign one of South Africa’s brightest stars

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Saracens are in advanced talks with young South African forward Cobus Wiese from the Stormers it has been revealed and his signing could benefit England too.

With the South African side struggling with cash at the moment, losing a host of their star players in recent times, the English Premiership giants are preparing to swoop in for another, with it believed that the utility forward to sign a five-year contract. 

At 22, the forward has been a regular for both the Stormers and Western Province over the past two years and if he does put pen to paper on the deal it would see him become available for England during his career. 

The London-based side have had a rough few days being handed a £5.3 million fine and being deducted 35 points in the Premiership for a breach of salary cap rules, but while that is being appealed, the club seem likely to continue their transfer business as usual. 

While for Saracens it would be a massive coup to sign Wiese, for the Stormers it would be a huge loss as they have already lost World Cup winners Eben Etzebeth and Damian de Allende, as well as other players such as Dan Kriel, Michael Kumbirai, Corne Fourie and EW Viljoen among others due to the current crisis at the franchise. 

The Stormers have been struggling through their pre-season so far as a host of their players are on loan abroad and they await the returns of some of their World Cup stars. 

They should be boosted by the returns of captain Siya Kolisi, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe and recent World Player of the Year winner Pieter-Steph du Toit, who are all set to come back to the franchise come mid-December. 

However, the loss of another player and a rising star could not only be a blow for the club but for the Springboks in the future.

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Super Rugby

Chiefs Not Concerned by Cruden’s Injury History

The Chiefs are ready to welcome back former All Blacks out-half Aaron Cruden to the franchise and have reiterated that they are not worried by his recent injury catalogue

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Super Rugby outfit the Chiefs are not worried about returning star Aaron Cruden’s recent injury history according to CEO Michael Collins.

The 30-year-old fly-half is set to return to the Hamilton-based franchise on a one-year deal, having previously spent six seasons with them and winning two titles before a move to French giants Montpellier. 

However, since his move to the Top 14 side the former All Black has picked up a number of injuries, including a calf problem that has caused him to miss large amounts of playing time, but Collins insists that the club are certain he will move to them and remain fit throughout. 

“We’ve spoken to Aaron and watched some of his games, and a couple of the injuries he did suffer in France were contact injuries and we always knew he was going to come right. the driver for us was he has such a history with the Chiefs, he’s a world-class first five-eighth, we’ve got some really good young backs coming through and we thought his recruitment would serve two purposes – to help drive the team round the field, and also to be an older voice and someone for those younger players to learn off. know that he’s going to come in fit and healthy, so we thought it’d be better to get his family settled, focus on that, then join the team after the Christmas break,” he said while speaking to Stuff. 

Cruden, who won 50 international caps for New Zealand before his switch to Europe, including appearances against the British and Irish Lions, will hope to put his own injury issues aside when he returns in January as his side look to start their campaign on a positive note. 

The Chiefs and Cruden kick-off their Super Rugby campaign on January 31st 2020 when they take on the Blues at Eden Park and Collins will be hoping his playmaker will be ready. 

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Rugby Championship

SANZAAR to Consider Japan’s Rugby Championship Inclusion

Following their hugely impressive Rugby World Cup performances from Japan SANZAAR are set to not only consider the team’s inclusion in the Rugby Championship but are also to reconsider the Sunwolves future according to reports

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Japanese rugby franchise the Sunwolves could be set for a return to Super Rugby as well as the national side having a chance to compete in the Rugby Championship according to a report from Newshub.

Following Japan’s brilliant World Cup campaign where they reached the last eight of the competition for the first time in their history, SANZAAR are apparently set to consider bringing the country into the Rugby Championship to help them develop their game. 

The report claims that SANZAAR are set to meet in Tokyo on Friday where they will also discuss the possibility of reintroducing the Sunwolves to Super Rugby. 

Speaking to Newshub, World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper is hoping that Japan will be able to compete at the highest level and rues the fact that the Nations Championship proposal was shut down. 

“Certainly if I was in their shoes I’d be very keen to have Japan in my competition sooner rather than later. That’s entirely their call. We proposed a nations championship that had Japan very much playing at the top table and maybe they’ll see it that way for their own particular championship” he said. 

The inclusion of the Sunwolves would be huge for Japan after the franchise failed to agree a new contract with SANZAAR to extend their time in the competition where they have only won eight of 62 games since 2016. 

However, considering the success of the national side this tournament it seems only fair that they should be given a chance to continue their development to the top tier and that will only happen if their players are playing against the best week in week out. 

The Japanese were unfortunate to go down 26-3 to the Springboks on Saturday in the quarter-finals, but following their incredible performances where they played a fast and exciting style of rugby, earning many fans worldwide, people will hope that this is only the beginning of their rugby story.

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