Waratahs announce 2014 Super Rugby squad - Green and Gold Rugby
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Waratahs announce 2014 Super Rugby squad

Waratahs announce 2014 Super Rugby squad

Michael Cheika has named 16 forwards and 13 backs in the Waratahs’ Super Rugby squad for next year.

One more will be added, most likely a front rower. The window for the Extended Player Squad is now open and if approval from the ARU is received to recruit young players in a Wider Training Group, the complete roster could total 46.

Cheika confirmed the signing of experienced outside back Matt Carraro, an ex-Waratah but lately of Bath and Montpellier, and bustling 20 year-old Sydney University hooker, Tolu Latu.  Other new players for 2014 are: Kurtley Beale (ex Melbourne Rebels), Talalelei Gray (ex Biarritz), Jono Lance (ex Queensland Reds), Nick Phipps (ex Melbourne Rebels) and Jacques Potgieter (ex Bulls).

Cheika - not that nasty

Cheika – “earn the right to become winners”

Cheika said that in 2013 ‘the focus was laying the foundation for the team, establishing the identity of the team and reconnecting with the community’, but realistically they had ‘needed a year to get themselves an understanding of what was required’.

None of the Waratahs’ players had experienced season-winning success in professional rugby apart from new arrival Jono Lance.

Cheika said:

The emphasis next season is on working even harder so that we earn the right to become winners.

He wouldn’t back away from the type of rugby the Waratahs played in the 2013 season:

We’re going to keep playing our running style that we played this year and we’ll try to be more effective with it . We can talk about lots of stats and linebreaks and all of that, but we’ve got to convert those into points because they’re the stats that count at the end of the day.

To do that the Waratahs would ‘work hard on repeating skills and skills and skills as a team’

Next year he also wanted his players to ‘put more sting in our tail’ and ‘to get more into the physical nature of the game because that’ll allow us to get the platform to play running footy: you just can’t go from side to side on attack, or defence.’

He wouldn’t be pinned down as to who would be playing where and said that the Tahs had a few tricks up their sleeve about how they’ll set the team up.

When asked about his new young hooker, Tolu Latu, he said that he would push Tatafu Polota-Nau for his position:

He’s deserved his spot […] He’s shown in the time he’s spent with us already this season and also on the tour and also in his club rugby that he can be a very dominant player when he puts his mind to it.

Tolu Latu - meteoric rise

Tolu Latu – meteoric rise

Latu arrived in Australia from Tonga with his family when he was two years old. After playing for Canterbury Juniors he went into the Sydney University Colts’ team.

He started playing in the centres, then moved to the back row, but coach Ray Hudd at Sydney Uni convinced him to play in the front row.

His rise has been meteoric. In 2012, only his second year as a front rower, Latu was selected as a loosehead prop to represent Australia in the IRB Junior World Cup in South Africa.  He repeated this year in France.

He was invited to train with the Waratahs early in 2013 and recently he toured with them in Argentina. In the Shute Shield final Latu stepped the last defender and scored a try for Sydney University, but the 110 kg pocket rocket is equally capable of running over folks to do that.

But when he starts with the Waratahs the affable youngster will have to give up his night job. He won’t be using a fork-lift to move stuff from midnight to 11am: he will be shifting people on the rugby field for a living.

Waratahs Squad 2014


Mitchell Chapman (Eastern Suburbs, 30)

Dave Dennis (Sydney University, 27)

Kane Douglas (Southern Districts, 24)

Talalelei Gray (ex Biarritz, 23)*

Jed Holloway (Southern Districts, 20)

Michael Hooper (Manly, 21)

Sekope Kepu (Randwick, 27)

Tolu Latu (Sydney University, 20)*

Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University, 26)

Wycliff Palu (Manly, 31)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta, 28)

Jacques Potgieter (ex Bulls, 27)*

Benn Robinson (Eastwood, 29)

Paddy Ryan (Sydney University, 25)

Will Skelton (Sydney University, 21)

Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University, 27).

(one to be added)

* New arrival


Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs, 29)

Kurtley Beale (ex Melbourne Rebels, 24)*

Peter Betham (Sydney University, 24)

Matt Carraro (ex Montpellier, 29)*

Cam Crawford (Northern Suburbs, 24)

Bernard Foley (Sydney University, 24)

Israel Folau (Sydney University, 24)

Michael Hodge (Sydney University, 24)

Rob Horne (Southern Districts, 24)

Jono Lance (ex Queensland Reds, 23)*

Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs, 28)

Nick Phipps (ex Melbourne Rebels, 24)*

Ben Volavola (Southern Districts, 22)

Jacques Potgieter

Jacques Potgieter



Extended Playing Squad

If the 30th contracted player is a fifth prop Cheika will be looking to recruit a third hooker in the EPS; and since Matt Lucas was not named above, the Tahs will need a third scrumhalf.

Any back who can kick halfway decently with his left foot will be highly regarded, as will be a high-percentage goal kicker.

Photos by Lee Grant


  • Mati

    Sounds like theyre going to be a team to be reckoned with

    • Lee Grant

      We’ve heard that before.

      Cheika has no doubt lost some players he didn’t want to, but he has replaced them, or retained others, that fitted the profile of the kind of player he wanted in the squad.

      He has also, most likely, not re-signed some players he could have, whether that was because they didn’t convince him that they were a good fit, or because he did not want to compromise the budget he had available to keep them—and they had better offers elsewhere, including prospects of starting more often.

      We may not know how good, or bad, a team he is assembling until all the contracts that were in place before his arrival have matured.

      I’d like to see the Waratahs take a big step next year but maybe we won’t see a real Cheika team until 2015.

      • Mati

        Yeah I agree with you

      • Hawko

        We may not see the full “Cheika” squad till 2015, but I reckon the squad has the ability and the gameplan experience now to make top two in 2014 and I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t. If the injury Gods strike like three years ago I reserve the right to change my opinion, but right now there’s too much ability and too much potential to think we will only make mid table.

      • Captain

        Yeah, like Tom Kingston. If he starts for the Rebels for a year, he’ll come back to the Tahs for a year, then make Wallabies. I have a lot of time for TK.

    • Vinnie Gorham

      sounds like that every year…

  • The Rant


    Mitchell Chapman – Nope

    Dave Dennis – Tick

    Kane Douglas – Tick

    Tala Gray -Here’s hoping

    Jed Holloway -nope

    Michael Hooper – Tick

    Sekope Kepu – Tick

    Pat McCutcheon – Nope

    Tolu Latu – ?

    Wycliff Palu – Tick (when Going)

    Tatafu Polota Nau – Tick

    Jacques Potgieter – Tick (fingers crossed)

    Benn Robinson – Tick

    Paddy Ryan – Tick

    Will Skelton – Tick

    Jeremy Tilse – Nope


    ALL GOOD apart from

    Matt Carraro – ?
    Michael Hodge -?


    12/16 forwards are super quality or better
    11/13 backs are super quality or better

    Looks like the tahs are back in the old ‘high hopes territory’


    • Field of Dreams

      Tolu Latu – See Shute Shield Grand Final 2013 and he is quick with his hands just ask Todd Pearce (Eastwood ‘rake’). Hodge back from injury and was part of Tah’s Academy this year. Carraro x Randwick player from memory (might be wrong on that call). Looks a very well balanced side with a blend of youth and experience.

      • Lee Grant

        Looks like it but the matters of the third hooker and scrumhalf are crucial as is the dearth of left-foot kickers in the side.

        I was a bit surprised that a 20 year old got a full contract when I hadn’t seen him play First Grade before this year.

        I expected the gig go to a seasoned player or even to another youngster, Hugh Roach, who has played a lot of first grade rugby for Eastwood (often as an openside flanker to help out the club).

        Cheika must think a lot of Latu to give him precedence, and I’ll back his judgement over mine.

        Latu is a bustling hooker who is not averse to contact yet he has some add-on skills such as deft passing and a wicked side-step.

        Could be a good-un.

  • wilful

    and all the backs can have a shared 25th birthday together!

    • Lee Grant

      Especial Beale and his old Joey’s team mate Peter Betham.

      The were born on the same day.

  • Vinnie Gorham

    Cue the Waratah Bias comments… Bet that you guys won’t post the Western Force team sheet lol

    • Lee Grant

      Hey Vinnie if you are willing to give it a shot let me know by reply.

      We are all just volunteers who love the game; so why not you?

      Let me know: leegrant20@gmail.com



      • Vinnie Gorham

        I volunteer my time to video editing haha

        • Andy Edmundson

          The WF Team sheet is missing James O’Gonner!.. haahahah

  • Stin

    Chapman? Still? Sheesh. Lucas would be my pick over McKibbin and Phipps. That’s a loss. Gotta love Cheika though. Still another year away I reckon…

    • Lee Grant

      Chapman has value as the lineout caller which is not as easy as some may think. It’s a specialty.

      Dennis is the default caller but I don’t think he is great at it.

      Therefore Chapman

  • Stin

    Where’s Fitzpatrick gone?

    • Lee Grant

      He’s playing for Lyon in the pro D2 (the 2nd division in France).

      Hopefully he will pick up some scrummaging skills there, stay healthy, then come back where he belongs.

      It was a bit of a risk for the LOU to sign him up given his injury history but let’s wish the ex-Joe boy all the best.

  • Andy Edmundson

    How often in the last 100 years has there only been 1 wick on the team sheet? I’m sure KB will make it two at some point, but still – that seems like a record to me.


    Same deadwood, different year………

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