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Rugby News: Why Wallabies ace made contract call, bizarre twist in AB's policy, Rennie reject off to RWC with minnows

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8th March, 2023
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Jed Holloway says re-signing with Australian rugby through to the end of the 2025 Lions tour is a “no brainer”.

A month after The Roar revealed Holloway had turned down a massive deal to play in France, his re-signing was announced on Thursday.

Holloway, 30, earned 10 caps in his debut season last year and made 76 appearances for the Tahs.

Holloway returned from a stint in Japan in 2022 but said he had no hesistation sticking around for two more years.

“For me, it was a no-brainer, I’ve loved every minute since I’ve come back from Japan, and it’s an incredibly exciting time here Waratahs and Australian Rugby,” Holloway said.

“We made a lot of progress last year at the Waratahs and I think we’re building something special at the Wallabies as well.

“My family loves Sydney, I’m a proud New South Welshman, and with a World Cup and a home British and Irish Lions tour coming up, there is no place I’d rather be.”

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Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones said: “Jed is an experienced Super Rugby player who is developing good leadership attributes.

“He’s got the ability to cover the lock and backrow positions and we’ll be watching his performances for the Waratahs closely this season.”

NSW Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman added: “It’s great not just for the organisation but for Jed and his family to extend for another couple of years.

“We all saw the impact that he had on the team last year and we’re expecting the same again from him this year.

“The mentorship and knowledge he provides our younger players in invaluable and being a member of the Wallabies leadership group last year demonstrates his value to the national set up.”

Jed Holloway poses during the Australian Wallabies 2022 team headshots session on June 24, 2022 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Jed Holloway. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

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Strange twist in ABs policy

The All Blacks rotation policy has come under question after Highlanders captain Billy Harmon has been caught up in it.

Harmon is uncapped and unlikely to make the Rugby World Cup squad.

He was called into the All Blacks squad in October as an injury replacement for Sam Cane, but didn’t feature in games against Wales, Scotland or England.

Yet as a member of the tour squad he is not allowed to play more than six Super Rugby games in succession and was therefore left out of the Highlanders’s team to play the Chiefs on Friday.

“It’s probably a question to the All Blacks,” said a clearly bemused Highlanders coach Clarke Dermody said.

“He’s someone who they want their time managed through the year.

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“So we just chose this week. Obviously, there have been two pretty heavy weeks for us, so we chose this week.”

Harmon faces a battle to make the ABs with Cane, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Ethan Blackadder and Luke Jacobson are all possible options in the All Blacks No 7 jersey.

“It’s the hand we’re dealt,” Dermody said. “’It’s obviously a challenge for all coaches I’d imagine.

“There’s teams with a lot more All Blacks that they’ve got to try and juggle, so it’ll be interesting to see when they do that over the season.

“But, we’ve decided to get the rest out of the way early in the season.”

Barrett re-signs

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All Blacks forward Scott Barrett has re-signed with New Zealand rugby through to the end of 2025. The Crusaders captain said: “I am excited to re-sign with New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders and Taranaki for two more years.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to represent these teams which I love playing for.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said he was pleased that Barrett has decided to stay, at a time where several big guns have decided to leave NZ.

“Scott is well-respected by team-mates, management and fans across the game,” Robinson said.

“We’ve watched him grow into a leader at all levels and are delighted to continue working alongside him.”

Since making his All Blacks debut in 2016, Barrett has played in 58 tests and has become a key part of Ian Foster’s team.

“This is fantastic news for the All Blacks,” said Foster, even though he himself will part ways with the team after this year’s World Cup.

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“Scott has become a massive contributor on and off the park, and to have his commitment past the Rugby World Cup is a real boost.”

Hardwick’s RWC bid

Richard Hardwick’s Super Rugby Pacific form is set to see him rewarded with a Rugby World Cup berth, only not with the Wallabies.

The Melbourne flanker was a stand-out in their tight loss to competition heavyweights the Hurricanes last round.

As well as his work around the breakdown Hardwick scored two tries as the Rebels rallied back from from 24-7 down at halftime before a six-point loss, earning him bragging rights over winger and teammate Monty Ioane.

The pair are set to cross paths in the group stage at the World Cup in France later this year, with Ioane representing Italy and Hardwick his country of birth, Namibia.

With two Wallabies caps in 2017, Hardwick said he was told last year by then coach Dave Rennie he was not part of his plans so he turned to Namibia, where he lived before his family relocated to Western Australia.

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Despite Rennie making way for Eddie Jones, Hardwick, who earned his first cap for the southwest African nation late in 2022, has no regrets.

“I was talking to Rennie and they just wanted to go down a different direction, younger players and a different style of rugby that’s not ideally suited for me, which is fine,” Hardwick said.

“So I just took things in my own hands – there’s a few things in my life that I’d love to accomplish before before retiring and I’m not getting any younger so the opportunity came up last year in November to go over and play for Namibia and potentially get a crack at a World Cup so I wasn’t going to wait around.”

Hardwick said his move to the rugby minnows meant a lot to his family and in particular his father Michael, who had represented the nation at a number of sports, foremost cricket.

“I think I can do a lot of good in Namibian rugby, not only representing them, but in developing … bring my experience from Australian rugby and at an international level as well.

“It was also pretty special for my dad, he represented Namibia for cricket and golf and squash so that’s pretty special to have two generations who have played for the country.

“He gave up quite a lot to move us to Australia and give us the life that we have now and I’m very grateful for that so giving back for both my parents is pretty special.”

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Hardwick and his Rebels will hunt their first win of the season on Friday night at AAMI Park against the NSW Waratahs.

Boasting a back-row that contains former Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and new sensation Langi Gleeson, the Waratahs posted an impressive win over Fijian Drua last round.

Hardwick said confidence was building in Melbourne that they could match it with the best in the competition.

“They’ve got a dangerous back-row and you can’t underestimate them – they’re going to put on big shots, they’re going to be a menace at the breakdown, they’re going to have big ball carriers.

“We have to stick together as a unit to try and nullify them and we’ve got a couple of plans around that but for the most part, it’s going to be a team effort, just to stay on top of them and frustrate them.”

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