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By Waratahs Media Unit
Sydney University lock Ollie Atkins has been added to the HSBC Waratahs squad for next season.
After impressing in the recent Shute Shield finals series, including last Saturday’s Grand Final win over Southern Districts, the 24-year-old’s name is the penultimate addition to the HSBC Waratahs’ 2013 roster. He joins fellow second rows Sitaleki Timani, Kane Douglas and Greg Peterson.
Said HSBC Waratahs assistant coach Scott Bowen, "His standout feature is his work rate and the impact he has around the ground. He's a solid ball carrier, he hits a lot of breakdowns, makes his tackles and is effective with the scrum and lineout."
The announcement caps a breakthrough year for Atkins, who this time last year playing for Sydney University in the 2011 third grade Grand Final. Having spent most of the year working for GrainCorp in a trade support role, Atkins received a late Super Rugby call up, making his debut for the Western Force against the Blues in Auckland in round 16, playing a full 80 minutes in the 32-9 loss at Eden Park and adding a further appearance the following week against the Crusaders.
After the completion of the Super Rugby season, the 200cm, 117kg Hobart-born lock returned to club duty, helping the Students record an eighth Shute Shield Premiership title in nine years with a single-point victory over Southern Districts in Saturday Grand Final.
A product of Scots College, he was “a couple of years ahead of and a foot shorter” than his new teammate, Greg Peterson.
The final place in the 30-man squad for next year has yet to be confirmed.
Ollie Atkins – Sydney University
Cam Crawford – Brumbies
Michael Hodge – Sydney University
Michael Hooper - Brumbies
Peter Betham – Sydney University
Grayson Hart – Extended Playing Squad
Lopeti Timani - Extended Playing Squad
Chris Alcock – Western Force
Rocky Elsom – N/A
Brackin Karauria-Henry – NTT Docomo, Japan
Daniel Halangahu – Zebre, Italy
Dean Mumm – Exeter Chiefs, England
Sarel Pretorius – Cheetahs, South Africa
Dan Vickerman – retired
*New additions to the 2013 HSBC Waratahs 30-man squad
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!