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Waratahs lock in promising duo

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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.”

Content & Images from – Waratahs Rugby


Super Rugby

Oli Jager: Injury Update

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Following an injury sustained towards the end of NPC 2022, Oli Jager has undergone surgery on his neck. 

 

The surgery was a success and he’s progressing well with rehab, having recently returned to some gym-based training and conditioning. He will progress to contact and scrummaging once cleared by the specialist.

 

His return to play date is uncertain at this stage and will depend on his progress over the next weeks and months. Oli and the wider team are committed to him playing an active role in the team environment throughout the 2023 season

Content & Images from – Crusaders 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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