The NSW Waratahs have added several talented players to their extended squad to train with the team up until Christmas and press their case for a full-time contract.
Mateilona Halaholo and Connor Vest join the squad, after starring in the University of Queensland’s recent Queensland Premiership win, providing vital competition in the forwards.
24-year-old Mateilona Halaholo’s strong ball carrying was a feature in UQ’s run to the finals and the explosive backrower has signed with the Hunter Wildfires in the Shute Shield.
Conor Vest returns home to NSW where he has been a mainstay of Northern Suburbs in the Shute Shield and gained four seasons of experience in the NRC with the Sydney Rays and NSW Country.
2020 Shute Shield leading try scorer James Turner re-joins the Waratahs and bolsters the squad numbers in the outside backs. Tuner made his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs against the Blues at Eden Park after some eye-catching performances in the Shute Shield for Northern Suburbs.
Tom Silk and Ola Tauelangi also join the squad after some starring for Gordon in the Shute Shield before the competition was abruptly cancelled due to COVID.
Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman noted the importance of the wider squad members in the Waratahs pre-season and the opportunity it presents for their own development.
“It’s a really good opportunity for those players that performed well in club rugby to get their chance to show what they can do in an elite environment,” Coleman said.
“Whether they push on and get a contract is yet to be seen but if they don’t, they can see where the marker is at where they need to get to.
“The first place I’m looking for talent is in the Shute Shield and besides these boys there are a bunch of players from our academy that are helping prepare the squad for the upcoming season.
“All of these guys play a vital role in ensuring we have the best preparation ahead of our campaign and provide them with a great opportunity for their own development.”