Tahs ready to Lance opposition
Mon, 13 May 2013 07:38
He fits the profile of what we are looking for
The Waratahs on Monday confirmed the signing of inside back Jono Lance and back row forward Tala Gray for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Having made his Super Rugby debut for the Queensland Reds in 2011, Lance brings with a skills set and a hard edge that Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says will make him a valuable addition to the squad.
"Jono brings a dual running and ball distribution game, and he is an excellent defender," said Cheika.
"He has all the qualities to fit the profile of what we are looking for. Along with that, he has an excellent character and that is a very important feature in our recruitment criteria."
Born in Canberra, 22-year-old playmaker Jono Lance has represented Australia at Under-20 and Sevens levels, and in 2011 won a Super Rugby title with the Reds.
The son of former Canberra Raiders captain Dean Lance, Jono has strong family ties to the Central Coast and Narrabri, where two generations of the Lance family were brought up.
"I've got a lot of friends in NSW and I'm excited by the opportunity to be playing there," said Lance.
"From Michael and everyone that I've spoken to, the players are enjoying everything they are doing down there at the moment and there are exciting times ahead."
Currently playing for French Top 14 side Biarritz, 23-year-old former Eastern Suburbs back row forward Talalelei Gray will be another valuable addition to the squad.
Born in Australia, Gray spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons playing Shute Shield rugby for Easts before moving to Biarritz in 2012, where he was part of the victorious Amlin Challenge Cup side.
"At a young age, he backed himself to make it over in France," said Cheika.
"He's the type of player we're looking for.
"Rugged in attack and defence, Tala is a strong ball carrier and a big worker. He also has a bit of edge which I really like in players and he is hungry to prove himself back in Australia."
With the ultimate ambition of playing for the Wallabies, Gray says he is excited at the prospect of returning to Australia.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to play Super Rugby back in Australia, especially with NSW, a side that looks like it building towards something very special."
Both players will join the Waratahs squad for the 2014 season.
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