'Tahs on inside Lane of young talent

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 08:28
Large sam lane reds steps 630 Large matt lucas 630 Large jed holloway 630

Talented youngsters Matt Lucas, Sam Lane, Jed Holloway and Luke Holmes have joined the Waratahs.

Talented youngsters Matt Lucas, Sam Lane, Jed Holloway and Luke Holmes have joined the Waratahs.

The quartet have snapped up four of the five extended playing squad spots for next season, leaving just two places in the NSW roster for next year still to be filled, with one EPS and one full squad vacancy still remaining.

In recognition of the quality and quantity of young talent coming through the Sydney club ranks, Waratahs new head coach Michael Cheika will invite a small selection of aspiring Shute Shield players to join the squad for pre-season training over the coming weeks, with a view to securing the final EPS place and a spot in the squad going forward.

Of those already signed, three of the newcomers have been using this week to get to know the set up, as well as getting in some early gym and fitness sessions ahead of the start of the squad's full pre-season training program on Monday.

Currently on Sevens duty ahead of this weekend's Gold Coast tournament, Matt Lucas will join his new teammates next week.

One of the youngest of the quartet, 20-year-old Lucas is the younger brother of Queensland Reds utility back Ben Lucas. A scrumhalf with enormous talent and potential, he earns his place off the back of impressive performances in five legs of the 2011/12 Sevens series, including Tokyo where he was part of the Australian squad that claimed the title, and for his Brisbane club side Sunnybank, Queensland's 2012 Premiership Grand Finalists.

He joins the squad as the third scrumhalf behind Brendan McKibbin and Grayson Hart, who both finished the 2012 season in strong form.  

"I'm extremely excited at the move to New South Wales," said Lucas.

The decision to move to Sydney will see him reunited with former 2009 Australian Schoolboys and 2010 Australian Under-20s teammate Greg Peterson, whom he plans to live with while he settles into life in Sydney, as well as two other former representative teammates, Tom Kingston (Schoolboys) and fellow newcomer Michael Hooper, another member of the Under-20s squad to tour Italy in 2011.

"As the youngest of our three scrumhalfs within the squad, Matt gives us balance in the position and succession planning for the future as we look to constantly bring new talent through the ranks," said new head coach Michael Cheika.

Joining the squad from the Queensland Reds is flyhalf Sam Lane, the 21-year-old son of former Wallabies centre and 1999 Rugby World Cup winning assistant coach Tim Lane.  

Born in Brisbane, Sam has spent much of his life in Sydney and returns to the capital city with two Super Rugby caps under his belt. He made his provincial debut for the Reds against the Brumbies last season after he was signed by Queensland on a short-term contract due to their backline injury crisis. Despite being offered a new contract with the Reds for 2013, Sam's desire to play for the Waratahs has led him back to NSW where he will be looking to build on the experience gained last season.

An exciting player full of potential, Sam adds depth to the flyhalf position and will compliment the likes of Berrick Barnes and Bernard Foley.

Said Cheika: "Sam has already proven himself at Super Rugby level and clearly has good breeding. What's most impressive is that he decided to join us instead of taking a full contract with the Reds because this is where he wants to play his rugby and we're delighted to have him."

In the forwards, Southern Districts lock Jed Holloway becomes the latest Shute Shield Rookie of the Year to earn a place in the NSW squad. A product of the same Yamba Buccaneers club as 2010 winner Kane Douglas, the 19-year-old is fast building a similar reputation as a strong, ball carrying lock with the ability to play on the blindside.  

Alongside current squad members Sitaleki Timani, Greg Peterson and Douglas, Holloway and fellow newcomer Ollie Atkins provide cover in the second row, following the departure of long-time Waratah, Dean Mumm.  

"Jed is a very impressive young player," said Cheika.

"As a lock or back row forward, to be so highly rated at such a young age is a good sign as typically these positions are late bloomers. He's a country player, full of enthusiasm and like Kane Douglas, Paddy Ryan and Pat McCutcheon, he brings a rawness and freshness to the team that we hope will help rough up the competition in the forward pack."

The last new face on the block is 28-year-old hooker Luke Holmes. The most experienced of the newcomers, Luke's strength in the set piece is complimented by his mobility around the field.

Since making his Super Rugby debut in 2006 he has amassed 28 caps, having been a foundation player with both the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels. Born in Sydney, he grew up supporting the NSW Waratahs, hoping to one day pull on the light blue jersey and jumped at the chance to return home to NSW after seven years interstate.

A father of two and a long time Warringah Rats player, Luke is also the older brother of former Waratahs scrumhalf Josh Holmes.  

The third hooker in the squad after Tatafu Polota-Nau and Damien Fitzpatrick, Cheika said: "We've tried to get a balance and with Damien already part of the squad and only 23, we felt we could afford to have a more experienced hooker in the EPS."

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4