Waratahs hopefuls chase the dream - Green and Gold Rugby Blog
NSW Waratahs

Waratahs hopefuls chase the dream

Waratahs hopefuls chase the dream
Elijah Niko - looking to impress

Elijah Niko – looking to impress

Elijah Niko is a convert from the rugby league code. He was in the Warriors TYC team in 2010 and was recruited by the Mebourne Storm in 2011. Cameron Smith did him no favours by comparing him to Israel Folau and indeed, he spent a lot of time commuting to Brisbane to play for the Storm’s East Tigers feeder team.

He switched to rugby union this year and was selected for the National Academy. He played for a Junior Tahs team against Tonga A early in the season and made his debut in First Grade in Round 12 of the Shute Shield for Eastern Suburbs wearing the 13 jersey. The big 22-year-old is strong in the tackle and has a good vertical game for restarts and cross-kicks.

Samu - Randwick Player of the Year

Peter Samu – Randwick MVP

Peter Samu

A devastating runner in the 2012 Shute Shield and was in good form when a young Randwick team made it to the semi-final of the Singapore Sevens in November (only to go down to the eventual winners).

A new arrival in Sydney, the 20-year-old former Schools and Colts rep from Victoria cleaned up at the Galloping Green’s end-of-season awards night getting the Best Newcomer and Best Back-rower awards, as well being voted the Randwick Most Valuable Player of 2012.

Kotoni Ale

NSW Schools player of the year in 2008 and a try-scorer in a memorable win for Australian Schools over NZ Schools in Auckland.

Kotoni Ale - ready to step up

Kotoni Ale – ready to step up

He was chosen for the Waratahs Academy in 2009 but had an injury-riddled year. Though fit again in 2010, he found himself behind England Test player Michael Lipman and future Wallaby Beau Robinson at the Warringah club. After being selected in the Tonga Under-20 squad that year he moved to the Manly club in 2011 and relished the opportunity to start regularly in the Shute Shield.

Now 22 years old he is ready for the big step up. He is another to consider as a standby for Michael Hooper.

Aho - ready to make a move

Richard Aho – wants to move on

Richard Aho

The 25-year-old THP represented Sydney versus Country in 2011 and 2012 and was a non-travelling reserve for Tonga for their PNC squad this year.

He was the Penrith captain last season but will appear for Randwick in 2013.


Wayne Borzak

Wayne Borzak – outstanding Rat

Wayne Borzak

The Waratahs have also invited two promising 21-year-old props to train with the squad.

A rugby product of Knox Grammar School, THP Wayne Borzak represented CAS II Schools and NSW II Schools in 2009. He partnered LHP Scott Sio, now of the Brumbies, in both teams and will hope to emulate his old team mate by getting on the field in Super Rugby. He made his Shute Shield debut in 2012 after being a standout for the Warringah Rats Colts team in 2011.

Michael A - on the run

Michael A – one menacing Pirate

Michael Ala’alatoa

An up-and-coming LHP who was adjudged the most-improved grade player at the West Harbour Pirates club last season.

In 2011 he played for the Samoa Under-20 team in the IRB Junior Rugby Championship. At 125 kilograms (at least) he is looking agile and menacing at training.


Will Skelton

Will Skelton – big promise

Will Skelton and Jack Littlejohn

20-year-old Will Skelton from the National Academy and 21-year-old Jack Littlejohn were added to the invited players group last week.

At 203 centimetres and 136 kilograms Will is yet to make his mark in club rugby, though he was in the same Samoa Under-20 team in 2011 as Mike Ala’alatoa.

Jack, from Wagga Wagga, is from the Roosters rugby league stable, where he was considered to be a promising goal-kicking five-eighth who could also play centre or fullback.




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  • Zyanda

    LG, you are the lifeblood of this site.

  • mjw

    LG, a fantastic report. Keep it up.

  • brumby runner

    Good to see AJ get an opportunity. One of the form No8s this year, and a great link man between forwards and backs.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    To me these kind of opportunities make a great Rugby story. I love it! You know the more I see & read of Cheika as a man and as a coach, the more excited I get about the Tahs and Oz Rugby.

    I’m wondering is it just Michael Cheika giving these sorts of chances or are all the Australian franchise coaches doing it?

    • Guest

      For the first time in a very long time this article has made me feel that club rugby actually serves a purpose. Shame G&GR only gets to preach to the converted.

    • Jets

      Link is doing the same sort of thing with the revived Reds College. http://www.qrucommshub.com.au/ewenmckenzie/

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Excellent. Delighted to hear it.

        You know Ewen, despite living North of the Tweed, is still one of my favourite Rugby characters. He just seems so bloody normal when I see what he does and listen/read his comments.

        The things he does and say just makes sense. Well to me at least. But then maybe that’s just through the filtered lens of my world.

  • mjw

    AJ Gilbert also played in the ARC for East Coast Aces

  • Luke_Baird

    Correct me if I have it all wrong, but if you play representative rugby at any level for any country, you are not eligible for Australian representation, so Skelton and
    Ala’alatoa are only able to play for Samoa?

    Also, if you are able to (unless an article has already been done) could you do a review of the U20s from this year who have the most promise as future super 15 and Wallabies players.

    Thanks Lee :)

    • The Rant

      Not an expert but I don’t think that’s true. Mike Harris played u/20s for NZ if i’m right and quite a few have played schoolboys for other countries. Pretty sure it’s only ‘Test Caps’ that count. If you don’t have a test cap – you’re a free agent (once citizenship and other rules are in order or course).

      • Kiap

        It’s being capped for a Test (i.e. full national team), “A” national team, or Sevens national team.

        — Excellent article again, Lee.

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