The NSW Waratahs have secured the services of two of their brightest pathway graduates, with the promotion of Jack Bowen and Ben Dowling to the main squad for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.
The elevation of Bowen and Dowling has taken the total to five academy graduates to progress into the main squad for the Waratahs 2023 season.
18-year-old Jack Bowen, son of Wallaby Scott Bowen, was schooled at Riverview and has spent three years in the NSW system representing the Waratahs Academy in the U15, U16, and U18 age levels.
Bowen’s strong form in 2022 was rewarded with selection in Nathan Grey’s Australian U20s team, where he featured in all three matches against New Zealand, Fiji, and Argentina.
The exciting flyhalf impressed for his club team Eastern Suburbs in the Shute Shield this season, steering the team strongly in their late surge to the finals in just his first year out of school.
“It’s been a dream come true to be training here full-time and have the opportunity to potentially one day wear the Sky-Blue jersey,” Bowen said.
“I’ve grown up supporting this team and attending games since I was three years old, so it’s incredibly special for myself and my family to get the opportunity to train with this elite team.
“After spending three years in the academy, I’m extremely proud to be a full-time member and have to thank Shannon Fraser and Andrew Cleverley who have helped me transition into a full-time professional environment”.
Born and raised in Sydney and attending St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill, Ben Dowling has also progressed through the NSW pathways, through his time in the Waratahs U18’s Academy, and club rugby at Randwick.
Dowling has had a break-out year in the Australian Seven’s program, featuring in six of their eight tournaments in the 2021/22 season, helping the men’s team secure their first-ever season series win.
The talented outside back also represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham alongside Waratahs teammate Mark Nawaqanitawase.
“After spending time with the team through the Academy and playing in Waratahs A games, it’s incredibly exciting to now be able to train and play with the team in a full-time capacity,” Dowling said.
“I loved my time this year in sevens on the World Series as I learned a lot and feel it helped develop my game, but I’m really excited to get back and commit to fifteens.
“The team had such a great season this year and hopefully I can help play a part in continuing the success into next season.”
Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman was delighted with the number of players that have graduated through the NSW pathways.
“We’re incredibly proud that Jack and Ben are our 4th and 5th players to graduate directly from our academy into the senior full-time squad. It’s a credit to Andrew Cleverley and Shannon Fraser and their program that we can continue to rely on our academy to produce so many players annually,” Coleman said.
“Jack is an exciting prospect, comes from a great pedigree, and made a great impact for Eastern Suburbs and their strong form in the back end of the season.
“I’m looking forward to him growing and gaining in-game knowledge from his involvement in the full-time squad alongside the quality playmakers we have here.
“Ben Dowling is a good young prospect and we’ve seen his quality throughout the sevens program and his form for Randwick in the Shute Shield.
“Ben offers us great utility throughout our backline, and we’re really excited to see him continue to develop in our program.”
Chay Fihaki Re-Signs with the Crusaders
Dynamic young utility back Chay Fihaki has re-signed with the Crusaders presenting exciting prospects for the team taking the field in the 2023 season.
Fihaki signed with the Crusaders in 2020 as a 19 year old and has since gone from strength to strength, playing seven matches in the red and black and showing great potential.
During his youth career, Fihaki played through the midfield, but as he has progressed through Canterbury and Crusaders’ development pathways, he has nestled into a role at fullback.
Fihaki’s mission for 2023 will be to soak up as much knowledge as possible from some of his All Black teammates.
“I’m feeling excited about the season coming up. 2023 will be another year for me to grow, especially learning off the more senior players and All Blacks,” Fihaki said.
“My focus will definitely be on being more confident and backing my skillset.”
Fihaki’s X-Factor has been outlined by Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson, who said, “Chay has a massive boot and the ability to create something from nothing”.
Keep an eye out for Fihaki this season in the red and black!
NSW Waratahs secure schoolboy talent Max Jorgensen
The NSW Waratahs have secured the services of one of the brightest schoolboy rugby talents in Australia, signing Max Jorgensen.
Max Jorgensen, son of former Wallaby and NRL player Peter Jorgensen, is currently in Year 12 at St Joseph’s College and has spent three years in the NSW system representing the Waratahs Academy at U15, U16, and U18 age levels.
The talented outside back spent time in Nathan Grey’s Junior Wallabies program earlier this year and has been named in the Waratahs Development team to take on a Brumbies XV at St Edmunds College this Saturday in Canberra.
Max Jorgensen said: “I’m proud to be on board with the Waratahs, they have a terrific setup, and the new Centre of Excellence looks amazing.
“I am excited by the opportunities in rugby over the next few years and looking forward to playing high-quality rugby with some amazing players at the Waratahs.
“I’m focused on having a great pre-season and can’t wait to learn from the coaching staff and experienced teammates.”
Waratahs Head Coach, Darren Coleman said: “Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after.
“It’s great he has decided to remain at the Waratahs especially after spending the past three years in our academy.
“Max understands he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before he can become a fully-fledged Super Rugby player, but we look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game.”
ACT Brumbies sign Sevens star Ben O’Donnell
The ACT Brumbies are excited to announce the addition of outside-back Ben O’Donnell to the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad until the end of 2024.
The 26-year-old returns to Australia after a three-year stint in Ireland with Connacht, having previously represented Australia in Sevens on 95 occasions, winning Rugby Australia’s coveted Shawn Mackay award for Sevens player of the year in 2018.
O’Donnell is in line to wear ACT colours for the first time in Saturday’s practice match against a NSW Waratahs development side at St. Edmund’s College.
ACT Brumbies outside-back, Ben O’Donnell said: “I’m excited to be back in Australia and to be joining such a highly respected club like the ACT Brumbies.”
“Playing in Connacht was an unreal experience and I’m grateful for my time there and the mates I made but I’m looking forward to working every day with a world-class coaching staff and the boys here who have created a great culture from everything I have heard.
“Preseasons never get any easier but I’m excited for the hard work and especially looking forward to having a run around with my new teammates on Saturday.”
ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: “Ben will be a quality addition to our group.”
“Ben was a very accomplished 7s player, and he’s made a good transition to 15s, but we feel he’s got a great chance to develop further in our environment.
“With his pace and feel for the game, Ben’s an option across the backline and we’re excited to see how he goes on Saturday.”
Glasgow destroy Cardiff with 8 try victory
Failure to deal with sin-binning periods cost us – Young
Match Report: Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps
What rugby is on and where to watch it October – December
Six Nations 2020 – Fixtures & TV Schedule
Farrell Names Ireland’s Six Nations Squad
URC2 days ago
Munster issue statement regarding Chris Farrell
Premiership4 days ago
RFU issue statement surround Worcester future
Premiership1 week ago
New Club statement
International1 week ago
Darcy Swain cited for dangerous cleanout
URC1 week ago
Ulster name team for Connacht clash
International1 week ago
SA Rugby statement
URC1 week ago
Young ready to unleash stars in URC kick-off
Premiership2 days ago
London Irish confirm 2022/23 captain