NSW Waratahs

Waratahs ready for trials

Waratahs ready for trials

The Waratahs ramped up their training yesterday preparing for their first trial at Granville Park on Saturday afternoon.

They will be having three sharp sessions of 30 minutes each against fresh teams from the Randwick, Sydney University and Parramatta clubs.

The 90 minutes of play will be split between the contracted players, the wider training group and a sprinkling of promising players from the NSW Gen Blue Under 20 squad.

The youngsters didn’t have to worry about fitting into the Waratahs’ system. They had been training for the Under 20s national competition in March and received the same training content from Tim Rapp and his team as the Super Rugby players had from Michael Cheika and his assistants.

The Shute Shield players had better be prepared for a bit of robust rucking and counter-rucking on Saturday because the Waratahs have been practicing it fanatically against each other for a couple of months already. Day by day they have been doing opposed ruck drills—in pods, in one-on-ones and in hit-outs. They will be looking forward to doing it against somebody else for a change and Randwick will be first up.

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Under the rope into contact

And the club players should expect no joy from in the mauls either because the professionals have been entering low, using small steps and keeping tight, as in scrums.

The backs have been involved in the ruck training also, and they looked as fluid as ever with ball in hand.

For Cheika, the form of last year means nothing in 2015 either for the team or the players. It is clear to everybody that if they don’t perform in the two trials they will not be appearing in Round 1, and it won’t matter what their name is.

But he was pleased to hear the news that Rob Horne had rejected an offer from Munster and committed to the ARU and the Waratahs for two more years, until the end of 2017:

“Rob’s been an invaluable asset to the Waratahs over the last two years since I’ve had the pleasure of coaching him,” said Cheika for the Waratahs Media Unit.

“The next two years of his career here will see him become a real leader within our squad. We are really pleased that he will continue playing his rugby in the sky blue jersey.”

Horne will be on the field at Granville Park tomorrow relieved that the matter was settled so he can focus on the rugby, and having another fine season with the Waratahs.

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Rob Horne – Super Rugby final 2014

A year ago Horne already had a three-year history of hamstring issues and looked like damaged goods. His previous contract negotiation was for a one-year extension only; but how times have changed without the injuries.

Normally a centre, he seized his chance to start for the Waratahs on the wing in Round 7 last year, and held his spot so well that he was recalled to the Wallabies and played in ten test matches.

This success in a new position surprised a lot of people but it was where he played from the bench in his first game for the Waratahs, against the Brumbies, as an 18-year-old in Rd. 4 of 2008. By Round 9 he was outside centre against the Force in his first run-on game.

Because of this new utility value in 2014 he came to the notice of Munster. According to the Irish Independent his rejection of their generous offer to Horne “dealt a major blow” to their search for someone to offset the move of the versatile JJ Hanrahan to Northampton.

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Jim Stewart – will feature at Granville Park

But Horne is a no-frills guy who, like his good mate Adam Ashley-Cooper, didn’t get to professional rugby from being noticed playing for a well-known rugby private school: he played Colts’ rugby when still a schoolboy at Georges River College. However unlike Ashley-Cooper, who is going overseas to play for Bordeaux after the Rugby World Cup, Horne thinks that staying in Australia is the way to go for the lifestyle he wants, though it was a difficult decision for him.

He also wants the Waratahs to continue their winning ways. As reported by their media unit:

The experience of last season and the outpouring of support from all NSW rugby supporters was incredible, and something I hope we can continue to grow.

As well as watching for Horne in the trial tomorrow spectators should have a good look at new Waratahs: Auvasa Faleli’i (scrumhalf) Jack Dempsey (flanker), Henry Clunies-Ross (winger) and outside back Andrew Kellaway.

Also featuring will be players from the wider training group: center Jim Stewart, lock Matt Philip, hooker Dave Porecki and prop Eni Folau. Some of the more promising Under 20 players such as Ned Hanigan, Alex Newsome, Christian Yassmin and Jack McCalman could also make an appearance.

The trial is part of a Waratahs’ Fan Day at Granville Park and it will include matches by sides contesting the Willie O Cup before and after the Waratahs’ trial sessions.

The Waratahs start their hit-outs at 1.00pm.

For further information see here

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The Waratahs want to get up there again in 2015

NSW Waratahs

Voted most valuable member of the G&GR Forum since records began - Ed.

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