The NSW Waratahs have released a selection of their 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby AU squad to club rugby for the remainder of the 2020 Shute Shield season.
The decision has been made in consultation with Rugby Australia, given the selected players will not be able to return to the NSW Waratahs ‘bubble’ for the remainder of the competition.
In any other circumstance players outside the NSW Waratahs match day squad would move freely between their clubs and the professional environment, but under current bio-security protocols a definitive decision on this was required.
Joe Cotton (Southern Districts), Carlo Tizzano (West Harbour), Henry Robertson (Sydney Uni), Triston Reilly (Randwick) and Angus Bell (Sydney Uni) – from the Australian Sevens program – will all ply their trade in the country’s premier club rugby competition from this weekend.
NSWRU General Manage of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that the move was about giving developing members of the senior squad some valuable game time.
“These lads can train until the cows come home, but if we want to see them improve as footballers they need to be playing week-to-week against men,” Rapp said.
“They’re chomping at the bit to get out there and play, it’s been a long lay-off with COVID-19 and the delayed start to club rugby – they’ll now get two or three months of footy under their belts before a returning for the 2021 pre-season.
“Our high-performance unit will continue to monitor their progress from a physical perspective and all players will have an ongoing dialogue with our coaching staff.”
In addition to the benefits to players individually, Rapp also acknowledged the benefit this will provide to clubs.
“Players right across the squad love getting back to their clubs, as much as their clubs love having them – it’s provides a huge boost to the competition,” Rapp added.
“We’re home to the best club competition in the country and anything we can do to help further support that can only be a good thing.”
Rapp indicated that a decision on additional players returning to club rugby at the completion of Super Rugby AU would be assessed based on bio-security protocols – but remains highly lightly.
For more information on the Shute Shield including fixtures, ladder and news and updates click here.