The NSW Waratahs can confirm that Rory O’Connor and Siosifa Lisala will not be returning for the Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition commencing in early-July.
O’Connor – who appeared 11 times for New South Wales – made the decision during the COVID-19 shutdown to focus on his studies and career, as he approaches the completion of a Civil Engineering Degree.
Signed at the beginning of 2018 after starring for the Warringah Rats in the Shute Shield, O’Connor earnt his chance at Super Rugby level after a stint in the Munster Academy and time spent in the National Rugby Championship.
O’Connor is set to play with Warringah in the 2020 Shute Shield competition.
“To join the NSW Waratahs and get the opportunity to play Super Rugby has been one of my proudest achievements,” O’Connor said.
“The [COVID-19] shutdown gave me plenty of time to consider my future, as much as I love being a part of this team and being a Waratah, it was time to focus my energy on my studies and my career.
“I’ve had such great support from the coaching staff and my teammates throughout my time here – I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Lisala joined the NSW Waratahs in January ahead of the Vodafone Super Rugby season, but with the impacts of COVID-19 has returned home to Japan.
An accomplished international Sevens player, Lisala made one appearance off the bench for the NSW Waratahs after working his way back from a hand injury, before the season was postponed.
NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney wished both players the best with the next chapter in their careers.
“Unfortunately, the shutdown has created difficult situations for individuals right across our organisation,” Penney said.
“Sifa was only new to the squad and was making great progress on his return from injury, but being in a new country with a young family [during the shutdown] the best option for him was to return to Japan.
“Rory had been involved in the NSW Waratahs for some time and is a great example of how the Shute Shield can be a pathway for those who strive to be involved in Super Rugby.
“Both were great professionals and contributors to our group and we wish them well in the future.”