Waratahs sign winger and hooker
September 20, 2013
New South Wales Waratahs have signed Sydney University's Shute Shield premiership-winning hooker Tolu Latu and former Australia A winger Matt Carraro, leaving just one vacant berth in their senior squad for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
The duo join Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Tala Gray, Jono Lance and Jacques Potgieter as newcomers to the squad, with Waratahs coach Michael Cheika to continue his search for another front-row player to fill the 30th berth in his squad for the new campaign. Cheika is also looking to recruit players to fill the five Extended Playing Squad places, after the opening of the EPS contracting window.
"Tolu has been impressive for his club throughout the Shute Shield season and has deserved his spot," Cheika said of Latu, 20, who featured strongly for the Students in their Shute Shield grand final win over Eastwood having been among a number of emerging club players invited to train with the Waratahs squad for much of the 2013 season.
"He toured [Argentina] with us last month having already spent a fair bit of time getting to know what we're about and training with us as one of a number of invited club players throughout the season."
Latu is one of only two hookers in the Waratahs squad, and he hopes to benefit from playing and training alongside Tatafu Polota Nau. "I want to challenge Taf and make him a better player and hopefully become like him," Tolu said. "He's someone that I've looked up to and tried to base my game on how he plays his. I'll be trying to soak in and learn as much as I can from him."
Cheika also believes that Latu's presence will benefit Polota Nau. "I'd say Taf's got his hands full," he said. "He's going to have a competitor right from day one. Talu has shown he can be a very dominant player, and the idea of bringing him in is that Taf does have his hands full. Somewhere along the line we'll bring in another hooker and Tolu will have his hands full, too."
Matt Carraro also played 51 matches for Bath Rugby © Getty Images
Carraro, who represented the Waratahs eight time in 2008 and 2009, returns having impressed Cheika while playing for the NSW Barbarians in the second leg of their recent two-match tour of Argentina. "Matt offers us a profile that we haven't got in our back three. He's a hard, straight-running, out-and-out finisher who also offers international experience and brings with him good defensive skills and also has experience at 13."
Waratahs 2014 squad Forwards (senior club, age): Mitchell Chapman (Eastern Suburbs, 30), Dave Dennis (Sydney University, 27), Kane Douglas (Southern Districts, 24), Tala Gray (Eastern Suburbs, 23), Jed Holloway (Southern Districts, 20), Michael Hooper (Manly, 21), Sekope Kepu (Randwick, 27), Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University, 26), Tolu Latu (Sydney University, 20), Wycliff Palu (Manly, 31), Tatafu Polota Nau (Parramatta, 28), Jacques Potgieter (from the Bulls, 27), Benn Robinson (Eastwood, 29), Paddy Ryan (Sydney University, 25), Will Skelton (Sydney University, 21), Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University, 27).
Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs, 29), Matt Carraro (from Matt Carraro (Montpellier, 29), Kurtley Beale (from Melbourne Rebels, 24), Peter Betham (Sydney University, 24), 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 (from Queensland Reds, 23), Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs, 28), Nick Phipps (Sydney University, 24), Ben Volavola (Southern Districts, 22).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
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