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Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore

Waratahs new CEO Andrew Hore

Could Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht one day be taking on the Bulls, Highlanders and Waratahs?

If you believe new New South Wales chief executive Andrew Hore, then the answer is yes.

Hore is leaving his post with Welsh side Ospreys to join the Australian Super Rugby outfit in mid April, and the New Zealander sees a potential future link-up as beneficial to both competitions.

Hore has had a ringside seat in recent seasons as the huge influx of financial muscle into the French Top 14 and England’s Premiership has threatened to leave European rugby’s poor Celtic relations trailing behind.

The southern hemisphere has also felt the commercial weight of French and English riches, with an increasing number of top-class players heading north in their primes for a big payday.

But the prospect of competing against the high-quality teams in Super Rugby would certainly offer television companies a more enticing product, according to Hore.

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Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro

Glasgow Warriors new signing Taqele Naiyaravoro says he’s looking forward to making his debut for the club.

The Australian international winger, who arrived in Glasgow 9 days ago, trained with his new teammates at Scotstoun last week.

The Warriors return to Guinness PRO12 action on Friday night when they host the Dragons and Naiyaravoro says he would love to be involved in that game.

Taqele Naiyaravoro said: “I’m very excited and glad to finally be here. It’s beena long process, but it’s all good.

“I’d like to be involved in the game on Friday night, after missing the game last week (against Munster), but it’s been good having had a week of preparation. If I’m involved this week it will be an honour to play my 1st game for this club at the home ground and I hope the fans can come out and give me a warm welcome.”

Naiyaravoro, who has signed a 3-year contract with the Warriors, made his Australia debut against the USA last month, scoring a try with his 1st touch of the ball after coming off the Wallabies bench.

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Tolu Latu

Tolu Latu

Hooker Tolu Latu has committed to the Waratahs until the end of 2018, signing a 3 year contract extension with the club this month.

Latu, who has played all of his 28 Super Rugby matches with the Waratahs, said he was pleased to be able to continue his career in his home state.

“I’m really happy to be able to stay here with the Waratahs, it’s an exciting time to be at the club,” he said.

“It will be great to play under Daryl as head coach, and I’m really looking forward to working with him and Cam Blades in the coming seasons.

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Zac Guildford

Zac Guildford

The Waratahs have confirmed the signing of former All Black Zac Guildford for the 2016 Super Rugby season on a short-term contract for 10 months.

Guildford will commence his time with the Waratahs at the conclusion of the New Zealand ITM Cup tournament, where he is contracted to the Hawke’s Bay Magpies.

Head Coach Daryl Gibson said the signing of 26 year-old Guildford would provide an instant solution to the loss of a number of senior players at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

“There were a few reasons we opted to sign Zac, not having 3 of our starting outside backs in Ashley-Cooper, Naiyaravoro, and Betham was a big drain on experience in the backs,” Gibson said.

“We’ve got some excellent young emerging prospects in the squad, like Andrew Kellaway, Henry Clunies-Ross, and Harry Jones – all of whom will be quality players given time – but I felt like I needed a ready-made player who has been proven at Super Rugby level.

Gibson acknowledged that Guildford would face a challenging environment to earn the respect of his teammates at the Waratahs following a tumultuous few years in professional rugby.

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Nathan Grey

Nathan Grey

The Waratahs have confirmed the re-signing of Assistant Coach Nathan Grey, finalising the coaching structure ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Grey, who began his coaching role at the Waratahs ahead of their title-winning season in 2014, said he was excited at the prospect of continuing his work with the team, and shaping the next generation of incoming players.

“We’ve got a really exciting group of young players on board for next season who have an opportunity here to contribute to the team right from the start,” Grey said.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

The Waratahs and Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have announced the re-signing of Kurtley Beale on a contract that will see him in Australia for at least a further 2 years, until the end of 2017.

Waratahs Head Coach Daryl Gibson said Beale’s commitment to the side for 2 more seasons would continue his significant contribution to the legacy of the club.

“Kurtley has played some of his best football for the Waratahs, and I am confident we will see his game continue to progress in the seasons to come,” Gibson said.

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Israel Folau

Israel Folau

Israel Folau becomes the 1st Australian player to win consecutive John Eales Medals.

The Wallabies and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has claimed the 2015 John Eales Medal, winning the award for a 2nd consecutive year.

In just his 3rd year in Rugby Union’s top flight, Folau’s meteoric rise has continued as he becomes just the 3rd player in the 14-year history of the John Eales Medal to collect the major award for a 2nd time, joining George Smith (2002, 2008) and Nathan Sharpe (2007, 2012).

At a packed gala dinner at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) celebrated and acknowledged the players, coaches, fans, match officials and administrators for their dedication, committment and outstanding performance.

Folau picked up 138 votes in total to edge out resurgent flanker David Pocock (113), Wallabies Vice-Captains Michael Hooper (108), Adam Ashley-Cooper (98), and Ben McCalman (95) to become the 1st ever back-to-back winner.

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Greg Harris

Greg Harris

Waratahs boss Greg Harris will leave the Sydney Super Rugby franchise just 10 months after he joined the rugby club.

According to reports in Sydney CEO Harris chose not to re-apply for an extension for his contract which ends on 31 December.

The Waratahs franchise won their first Super Rugby title in 2014 but have lost several of their stars and the coach who masterminded the title has moved up to take on the Wallabies job.

The reports suggest that the restructure of the governance of both the Waratahs and NSW Rugby, who operate as separate entities, has upset several parties and and created conflicts.

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Zac Guildford

Zac Guildford

Former All Black winger Zac Guildford is likely to cancel his plans to play Super Rugby for the Waratahs next year.

Guildford, 26, signed a 1-year contract with the Waratahs outfit last week but last night said there was a chance he would exercise an out clause.

“I’ve had a rethink and I’ve decided it might be better to stay closer to home and family and friends.”

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Zac Guildford

Zac Guildford

Troubled former All Black Zac Guildford said the Waratahs had offered him a contract for next season, handing yet another lifeline to the bad boy of New Zealand.

Still only 26, Guildford’s career has been blighted by alcohol issues and he walked out of a contract with French Top 14 side Clermont in May – citing “personal reasons”.

Since then, the wing – who scored 6 tries in 10 Tests for the All Blacks – has been playing for his home provincial team Hawke’s Bay.

Guildford said Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson had approached him about joining the Sydney-based Super Rugby side, who lost wings Peter Betham and Taqele Naiyaravoro at the end of the 2015 season.

Guildford and Gibson, himself an All Black, worked together when Gibson was assistant coach at the Crusaders.

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Israel Folau

Israel Folau

Waratahs Rugby and the Australian Rugby Union have confirmed the re-signing of fullback Israel Folau on a 3-year flexible contract which will keep him in Australian rugby until at least 2018.

The 26 year-old joined the Waratahs for the 2013 season, making an immediate impact to the side with his impressive speed and agility.

In just his 2nd year in the code, he was named 2014 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year after an outstanding season in which he scored 12 tries in 14 matches and was an integral member of the title-winning team.

A key member of the team’s leadership group, Folau was named as vice-captain for the 1st time in 2015, and held the role for 5 matches.

2016 Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said he was pleased that Folau had committed to stay in Australian rugby.

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Chris Malone

Chris Malone

Former Bath, Harlequins and London Irish flyhalf Chris Malone will join the Waratahs next season as attack and kicking coach.

The Waratahs confirmed the appointment of Malone as assistant coach to Daryl Gibson on a 3-year contract, to commence with the 2016 season.

Malone, who will be a specialist attack and kicking coach, was recruited from the Sydney University club where he has been coach of the 1st grade Shute Shield side since 2013.

Gibson, who will move from assistant to head coach when Michael Cheika leaves at the end of the season, said the appointment of Malone would bring a fresh perspective to the coaching team.

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Super RugbyIt is the Semi-Final Round of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are only 2 matches in the Round, 1 in New Zealand and 1 in Australia.

1St Place on the Combined Log, the Hurricanes hosts the lowest Qualifier, the Brumbies. In the other match 2nd on the Log, the Waratahs hosts the other qualifier from last weekend, the Highlanders.

The 2 Franchises who finished in the No 1 and No 2 spots on the Combined Log, the Hurricanes and Waratahs respectively, have had wonderful rest weekends, as they sat out during the Top 6 Qualification Round last weekend.

The action is kicked off by the Hurricanes vs Brumbies who do battle in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) on Saturday 27 June.

A little later, over in Sydney, Australia, the Waratahs plays the Highlanders at 11:55 SA Time (19:55 AEST, 21:55 NZ Time, 09:55 GMT).

After this Round only 2 Teams remain to contest the Final next weekend.

The Hurricanes vs Brumbies game should be an absolute cracker after the Brumbies’ massive win over the DHL Stormers last weekend, but one would have to give a nod to the most consistent team of this year’s series, the Hurricanes, who have stood out head and shoulders above all comers in 2015.

Both teams sport great backlines but I am of the opinion that the Hurricanes are punching at the weight they should always punch at in 2015, and I give the win to them, but not by a large margin.

As far as the other match is concerned, do we give home ground advantage enough weight to speculate that the Waratahs will overcome the staunch Highlanders in Sydney… even though their regular league season was not as brilliant as last season, OR do we say that the Highlander’s faerie tale will continue in 2015?

It is a difficult call to make and I’m leaning towards the Waratahs making it at home in Sydney!

Meanwhile 11Teams are already lounging around, no longer part of the race to the finish line.

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WaratahsWaratahs head coach Michael Cheika has named the team to face the Highlanders in the 2015 Super Rugby Semi-Final to be played at Allianz Stadium, Sydney on Saturday 27 June. Kick-Off is at 19:55 AEST (21:55 NZ Time, 09:55 GMT).

Matt Carraro has been named to play in the centres after Kurtley Beale failed to complete training on Thursday.

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Stephen Hoiles

Stephen Hoiles

Waratahs flank Stephen Hoiles has warned that the Highlanders pack could cause problems for the defending champions heading into the semifinal clash in Sydney on Saturday.

The Highlanders pack completely outmuscled the Chiefs in the Super Rugby preliminary play-off match last week – defeating the Chiefs 24 / 13.

“Watching their play-off match the other day, they were very impressive and they have been impressive all year,” Hoiles said in an interview on the Waratahs website.

“Probably because of how strong that New Zealand conference has been,” he added.

“They have snuck under the radar for most of the season, but the last few weeks it has been really obvious just how exciting they are.

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Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale

Waratahs’ centre Kurtley Beale is in a race against time to be ready for the Waratahs’ semifinal match with the Highlanders in Sydney on Saturday.

Neither Beale nor wing Rob Horne trained with the side on Tuesday, and while Horne is expected to recover from a calf niggle in time, Waratahs assistant coach Daryl Gibson conceded time is against them regarding Beale’s injured quadriceps.

Gibson said Beale would be given until Thursday to be ready, but the Waratahs were preparing for versatile utility Matt Carraro to reprise the role he took at short notice against the Reds a fortnight ago.

“Beale’s been doing his exercises and getting up to a running pace that enables him to at least have a chance on Thursday to see if he can make it,” Gibson said.

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Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper has signed a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and the Waratahs which will keep him at home until the end of the 2018 season.

The hard-running 23-year-old, who captained the Wallabies last season and has played 42 tests for his country, is a certainty to be in the Australia squad for this year’s World Cup.

“The opportunity to play for my country is something I am very passionate about, and is a huge reason why I wanted to commit beyond my current term,” he said in a news release.

“I am just stoked to be in this position. To be able to stay here in Australia allows me represent my country, state, club, and all of the people who have supported me since I began playing rugby.

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