Jed Holloway and the Waratahs were more than happy to break fro mthe preseason grind to put some smiles on children’s faces, in their visit to the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Holloway, who was announced as a Starlight Ambassador on Wednesday, said the annual visit meant the world to him.
“Words can't even describe how much pleasure I get out of it, especially since they all really enjoy it,” he said.
“They're obviously going through a really tough time but it's good to see they've got a smile on their face, especially close to Christmas.”
Holloway’s cousin received a lot of support from the Starlight Foundation through a battle with leukaemia.
“Starlight supported my cousin for a long time... unfortunately he passed away from Leukaemia but once I've become in a bit of a position of importance, I thought what a way to give back to these kids around here and also to the cause as well and I love doing it because it puts a smile on their face and definitely puts a smile on mine.”
The 24-year-old’s Super Rugby season was cut short by injury, after a stunning hat-trick against the Highlanders caught fan’s attention and had him in the Wallabies conversation.
Holloway watched on as teammate and good friend Jack Dempsey went on Spring Tour, following the debuts of Tolu Latu and Tom Robertson this year, journeys that have made him hungry for more success in 2017.
“Injuries are never fun but I couldn't be happier for Jack - he's a good friend of mine, so's Tom and they deserved everything they got this year,"- Jed Holloway
“They worked really hard and they put in a lot of work. Obviously they were rewarded by their achievements that they did.
“I just wish I could put in a full season in the blue jersey but any chance I get to pull it on ,it's a privilege because it's something that I've always wanted to do, I've always wanted to play for my state and I know a lot of the other boys want that as well.
“Looking forward to hopefully getting picked next year and we'll see how we go from there.”
Holloway and Dempsey will likely make up part of the Waratahs’ next generation back row in 2017, but it won’t be the only shift in NSW.
The hooker position will be hotly contested, with Tatafu Polota-Nau switching to the Force.
Hugh Roach was picked ahead of Latu often in Super Rugby but the latter cracked the Wallabies squad after a standout NRC campaign with the NSW Country Eagles, while Roach was recovering from a foot injury.
The return of Damien Fitzpatrick from a stint in Europe will also add some spice to the number two race, Roach said.
“Taf for us was massive, massive impact and he's such a great player,” he said.
“Tolu with his representative honours was fantastic...as well as Damien Fitzpatrick who's done his thing overseas, making a big impact over there and coming back to NRC and playing really well for the [Sydney] Rays so it's going to be really tough for all three of us but someone's going to take that leap and we're all fighting for that position which is going to make the team better.”