Palu included in Waratahs Super Rugby squad

Wycliff Palu has been named in the Waratahs Super Rugby squad for 2016

Sydney based Super Rugby franchise the Waratahs have been boosted by the return of Manly duo, Wycliff Palu and Matt Lucas for their 38 man squad for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Palu has aready won 121 Super Rugby caps for the Waratahs and has re-signed with Australian Rugby for 2016.

Last week he joined his fellow Wallaby teammates at Waratahs pre-season training for the first time since their successful 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

The powerful number eight was due to head to Japan following the World Cup, but was unable to take up the opportunity after prolonged rehabilitation on a hamstring injury, suffered during the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup match against Uruguay, saw him miss most of the Japanese Top League season.

Dynamic halfback Matt Lucas has re-signed with the Waratahs for two seasons until the end of 2017. The brother of former Queensland Red, Ben Lucas and Australian Sevens representative, Tom Lucas, Matt first joined the Waratahs back in 2013 and has 12 Super Rugby appearances already under his belt.

Lucas has spent the last couple of years as skipper of the Manly Marlins, highlighted by a number of standout performances for the side who have remained the team to beat in the Shute Shield over the past few seasons.

Palu said he was keen to return and sees it as a second chance to finish on a high note.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity. They didn’t have to take me on, they could have picked someone else, there’s a lot of young players coming through,” Palu said.

“I’m the oldest now so that’s a bit different. We’re still doing a lot of the things we were doing before, still working hard, training hard. It’s pretty exciting with the new coaches.

“I’m not going to change in the way I approach my rugby. I’ll still go out there and be the best I can, but I also want to pass on my knowledge to the players.”

The two signings will add to an already rich list of experience in the Waratahs side for 2016. In total, 23 players have been retained from the 2015 NSW Waratahs squad.

This year’s squad features 14 players with international experience, including 13 Wallabies and former All Black, Zac Guildford.

Guildford will line up alongside the likes of former NRL speedster, Reece Robinson and superstars Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale and Rob Horne in the backs offering a mouth-watering variety of possible combinations for the Waratahs’ coaching staff this year.

Another fly-half is also set to be added to the team ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Angus Ta’avao, with 48 Super Rugby caps under his belt, will be a welcome addition to the Waratahs heavyweight leaders including Dean Mumm, Will Skelton, Michael Hooper, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan and Dave Dennis.

Guildford, Robinson and Ta’avao, together with young Australian Sevens star, Brad Wilkin were some of the key signings for the Waratahs ahead of 2016.

In addition, top local NSW talent, Hugh Roach, Andrew Kellaway, Jack Dempsey, Jim Stewart and Ned Hanigan, have been elevated to this year’s core playing squad.

In total, 33 players out of the 38 players were born in NSW, with most stand-out performers from NSW rugby development pathways, including the Shute Shield, NRC, NSW Under 20s, Australian Under 20s, NSW Schools, Australian Schoolboys and Waratahs Gen Blue development side.

The NSW Waratahs kick off their 2016 Super Rugby season on Saturday 27 February against the Queensland Reds at Allianz Stadium, where all eight of the NSW Waratahs home matches will be held in 2016.

The 2016 NSW Waratahs Super Rugby playing squad:
Forwards
Benn Robinson
Paddy Ryan
Jeremy Tilse
Angus Ta’avao (2015 signing)
Matt Sandell (elevated from 2015 development squad to extended playing squad)
Tom Robertson (extended playing squad)
Cameron Orr (development squad)
Tatafu Polota-Nau
Tolu Latu
Hugh Roach (elevated from 2015 extended playing squad to core playing squad)
Will Skelton
Dean Mumm
Sam Lousi
Senio Toleafoa (supplementary squad)
Ryan McCauley (supplementary squad)
David Dennis
Jack Dempsey (elevated from 2015 supplementary squad to core playing squad)
Michael Hooper
Jed Holloway
Wycliff Palu (newly re-signed)
Brad Wilkin (2015 signing)
Ned Hanigan (elevated from 2015 extended playing squad to core playing squad)

Backs
Nick Phipps
Matt Lucas (newly re-signed)
Jake Gordon (extended playing squad)
Bernard Foley
(Additional fly-half to be announced)
Andrew Deegan (supplementary squad)
Kurtley Beale
David Horwitz
Jim Stewart (elevated from 2015 supplementary squad to core playing squad)
Matt Carraro
Rob Horne
Zac Guildford (2015 signing)
Andrew Kellaway (elevated from 2015 extended playing squad to core playing squad)
Reece Robinson (2015 signing)
Henry Clunies-Ross (elevated from 2015 development squad to supplementary squad)
Harry Jones (supplementary squad)
Israel Folau

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