The NSW Waratahs have signed Sam Caird ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby season, with the former New Zealand U20 representative putting pen-to-paper on a two-year deal.
Caird – who cuts an imposing figure at over 202cm – will strengthen Rob Penney’s depth at lock, following the recent signing of Sam Wykes for the 2021 season.
The Waikato junior was part of the New Zealand U20 program in 2016 and 2017, alongside making several appearances for his home province in the Mitre 10 Cup.
A move to Northland in 2019 coincided with his involvement with Leon McDonald’s Auckland Blues, turning out for several ‘A’ games throughout 2020.
NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that Caird’s signing provided balance to the squad’s second-row stocks.
“It [second row] is an area we’ve needed to pay attention from a recruiting perspective,” Rapp said.
“Sam has spent the majority of this year around the Blues system, training alongside and learning from some really experienced locks whilst continuing to develop his game in the Mitre 10 Cup.
“He’s a young guy whose got great potential and he now has the opportunity to work with Matt [Cockbain] and Rob [Penney] to take his game to that next level.”
NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney said he’d been really impressed with what he’d seen from Caird in provincial rugby.
“He’s got a great profile [202cm and 116kg] for a lock, that size and physicality is something every team needs at this level,” Penney said.
“Everything we’ve seen of Sam tells us he knows how to impart that [physicality] onto a contest and his work at the set piece is first class.
“His numbers from the Mitre 10 Cup are really impressive and we’ve done our due diligence to ensure he’s the right fit for us.
“He’s had some glowing recommendations from around the game and we’re looking forward to bringing him in for pre-season.”
Caird said he was excited about the prospect of crossing the Tasman to join the Waratahs.
“I just can’t wait to meet the boys and get started,” Caird said.
“I’ve heard great things about the program that the Waratahs are running, there’s lots of young guys who have come in and are really excelling at Super Rugby level and I’m keen to be a part of that.
“They’ve been playing an exciting brand of rugby, which is the style of game you want to be playing week-in-week-out.
“I’m just thankful to Tim [Rapp] and Rob [Penney] for the opportunity to be involved with the club.”