Saturday’s match against The Lions was a very special occasion, not only for the boys in the squad, but also for our loyal NSW supporters.
Although we were outclassed in the end, there was no questioning the team’s effort, and the experience gained will benefit the group moving forward. Thanks for everyone who made it to the match and contributed to an incredible atmosphere, seeing and hearing over 40,000 fans in the stands at your home ground is something that all the boys will remember for the rest of their careers.
After the excitement of that historic match, many of the squad are returning to club rugby this weekend to compete in the Shute Shield. This again highlights the importance of the club competition and the Waratahs’ commitment to ensuring its longevity. A strong club competition is great for everyone. From the loyal club supporters who go to games or watch it live on the ABC each week, to the players, coaches and volunteers involved, the Shute Shield is also really important in the development of the next generation of Waratahs. Guys like Richard Aho, Adam Coleman, Terrence Hepetema and Liam Winton have shown this these last couple of weeks, coming into the squad and playing a big part in the club’s victory over the Force two weeks ago.
Along with club rugby, this weekend sees the first Test against The Lions, up in Brisbane. I have been fortunate enough to have been with the Wallaby squad in camp all week and the focus and preparation has lifted to a new level. Unfortunately, I missed out on selection for the match but I’ll be cheering the boys on from the sidelines, particularly the eight Waratahs boys who have been named. A special mention to big Izzy too, who has been named on the wing and will earn his first rugby union Test cap. He’s shown us his class all season and when he runs out on Saturday it will be an amazing and well deserved achievement. As well as becoming a dual international, he’ll be the only guy ever to have competed at the highest level in all three of Australia’s contact football codes.
Finally, a special congratulations to John Ulugia on becoming a dad for the second time this week. His partner Georgina gave birth to a little girl, Henna Nicole Ulugia, on Tuesday. Well done Luge. Also happy birthday to Tom Kingston and Grayson Hart, both celebrated their birthdays this Wednesday, Tommy his 22nd and Grayson his 25th.
I hope everybody enjoys their rugby this weekend and Go the Wallabies!