The NSW Waratahs have officially confirmed their departing contingent from the 2020 Super Rugby AU season, as the squad prepares to return for the 2021 pre-season.
Several departing players have been previously confirmed including Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Tom Robertson and Tom Staniforth.
They are joined by Karmichael Hunt, Cam Clark, Ryan McCauley, Michael McDonald, Jed Holloway, Pat Tafa, Andrew Tuala and Mitch Short.
NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp thanked the players for their contribution to the Waratahs program during their time with the club.
“Managing your roster is always a challenging task, but it’s certainly been made more difficult given the impacts of COVID-19,” Rapp said.
“Its professional footy and tough decisions need to be made by both clubs and players.
“I’d like to thank each of these guys for the way they’ve contributed to the fabric of our organisation both on and off the field.
“They’ll always be a part of the proud history of the Waratahs and we wish them the very best in the next chapter of their careers.”
Departing NSW Waratahs:
Caps: 157 (114 Reds)
Super Rugby debut: Round 1, 2009 v Bulls (Reds)
The 100-Test Wallaby joined the NSW Waratahs at the beginning of the 2018 after nine seasons with the Queensland Reds – including a Super Rugby Championship in 2011.
Re-signed in late 2019 before heading to his third Rugby World Cup, Simmons was appointed to the captaincy at the beginning of 2020, leading a young group of Waratahs through a tumultuous period in professional sport across the country and the world.
Super Rugby debut: Round 11, 2016 v Cheetahs
An integral part of the NSW Waratahs program for several seasons, the versatile forward has more than 50 caps for his home state, with the Coonamble product also going onto make his Wallaby debut during his time at Daceyville.
Super Rugby debut: Round 4, 2016 v Highlanders
Making his debut in 2016 – scoring a try in his first outing against the Highlanders – Robertson went onto make 62 appearances for the NSW Waratahs.
Robertson made his international debut that same year, in Perth against the Pumas – with the versatile prop now having 24 Wallaby caps to his name.
Super Rugby debut: 2014 v Reds (Brumbies)
Caps: 64 (22 Brumbies)
Staniforth joined the New South Wales in 2018 on a three-year deal, and the 26-year-old has since earnt 44 caps for the Waratahs, to go along with his 22 appearances for the Brumbies.
Caps: 55 (32 Reds)
Super Rugby debut: Round 1, 2015 v Rebels (Reds)
Hunt – who joined the NSW Waratahs at the start of the 2019 season – was an integral part of the side’s backline and attack, before his season was cruelly cut short through injury.
Named the Back of the Year for 2019, Hunt also finished at the pointy end of Matt Burke Cup voting after a stellar campaign.
Hunt’s experience proved crucial for Rob Penney throughout Super Rugby AU.
Super Rugby debut: Round 3, 2017 v Sharks
Clark – an accomplished Sevens player – joined the NSW Waratahs in 2017 after returning to the 15-man game via the Shute Shield and National Rugby Championship.
The former Wahroonga Tiger represented Australia at 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Super Rugby debut: Round 17, 2017 v Force
A product of NSW’s Gen Blue program, the Australian U20 representative made several appearances for the Waratahs.
Super Rugby debut: Round 5, 2020 v Chiefs
Deputising for Mitch Short in the absence of Jake Gordon, McDonald has had the opportunity to learn from two experienced number 9s across his debut season.
Super Rugby debut: Round 7, 2013 v Force
With more than 50 caps for his home state, the Yamba junior has been part of the Waratahs system for several years dating back to his time in the Australian U20 program.
Super Rugby debut: Round 5, 2020 v Chiefs
Debuting against the Chiefs at WIN Stadium, Tafa went onto make a couple of appearances for Rob Penney’s side in his debut season as a professional.
Super Rugby debut: Round 6, 2019 v Crusaders
Plucked from Newcastle club rugby after a string of solid performances, Tuala made the move to Sydney and was eventually rewarded with a Super Rugby debut in the 2019 season.
Super Rugby debut: Round 3, 2018 v Sharks (Force)
Short arrived at Daceyville in 2018 from the Western Force having spent his junior career within the Gen Blue program, deputising to Nick Phipps and Jake Gordon during three Super Rugby campaigns – Short made several appearances across the season under Rob Penney.