Tahs Together: Community double header kicks off grassroots blitz

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By Waratahs Rugby

The King's School in North Parramatta played host to an open training session on Tuesday that enabled hundreds of spectators the chance to witness the HSBC Waratahs being put through their paces, before joining them on The King’s School’s pitch for an on-field signing session and photo opportunities.

At the end of an intense 90-minute training, eight NSW players including Israel Folau, Bernard Foley and Peter Betham, then headed down the road to Carlingford’s North Rocks Club where they joined hundreds more young players for the first of four Tahs Junior Clinics.
“It’s always enjoyable for the boys to get out to grassroots rugby and remember why they first started playing the game,” HSBC Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said of the event.
The Tahs Junior Clinics represent a fantastic chance for girls and boys between the ages of six and 12 to meet their heroes and gain first-hand playing tips from their favourite HSBC Waratahs players, a view shared by Dennis.
“The Clinics allow the boys time to get out to a number of junior clubs across Sydney to pass on advice and continue to build the clubs association with our most important fans,” he agreed.
Further Tahs Junior Clinics are scheduled at Easts Rugby Club on Monday May 20, Sylvania Rugby Club on Monday 27 May and Beauchamp Park on Tuesday 25 June - all three Clinics are due to start at 5:30pm. The Clinics are free to attend, however Beauchamp Park has already reached its 300 capacity. 
Tuesday’s community events also marked the start of the HSBC Waratahs’ Junior Club Blitz, an initiative that will see each of the 53 clubs taking part in the Sydney Juniors competitions visited by a HSBC Waratahs player before the end of June.
Each of these visits - the first of which got underway last night at Juniors Clubs around Sydney - is part of the HSBC Waratahs’ continuing support for Community Rugby in New South Wales which last year saw Waratahs Rugby contributing over $1.1 million to the grassroots game.
Immediately after Wednesday’s visits ended, a number of the participating HSBC Waratahs squad members, including Paddy Ryan and Sekope Kepu (both training at Coogee), quickly took to Twitter to show their support for the initiative.
@paddyjohnryan: Great afternoon down at Coogee juniors! Definitely some future @NSWWaratahs running around! Don't you reckon @SekopeKepu? #TahsTogether
@SekopeKepu9h: @paddyjohnryan @NSWWaratahs always plenty of talent down in the Randwick district mate lol. Great arvo with the kids. #TahsTogether
Likewise, the junior players and their parents were equally pleased with the turnout.
@bonvillebomber: @SkeltonWilliam @NSWWaratahs thanks for the pic with my kids guys...good luck Saturday
For 21-year-old scrumhalf Matt Lucas, who together with Damien Fitzpatrick took a training session at Mosman Juniors that was attended by over 100 eager kids, Wednesday night’s Blitz visit was of particular significance.
“It was roles reversed really,” Lucas said. “I remember being one of those kids not too long ago – round-eyed and absolutely in awe of the Super Rugby players that came to visit.
“To be in that situation last night with all the hungry kids waiting on every word and listening so intently was pretty special. I really enjoyed it and the kids were really easy to work with which makes everything a whole lot easier.
“At the end the kids lined up and we signed everything they had. I’m pretty sure I was signing two arms at one point!” Lucas added.
Lane Cove Junior Rugby Union president John O’Farrell was quick to praise the two players that attended his club, Bernard Foley and Michael Hodge.
“The parents I spoke to were thrilled that Bernard and Michael were able to help out. The guys did a super job and are a credit to the culture Michael Cheika is looking to build,” O’Farrell said.
“I also want to thank Michael Cheika and the rest of the Waratahs management for allowing the guys to come and help us out on the eve of one of the biggest games of the year. It is a tremendous initiative to enable players of this calibre to come and connect with young players and help pass on new skills.
“It has been a very long time since we have seen at a club level this kind of support. Well done and we hope you are able to keep it up in future,” O’Farrell added.
Elsewhere in the Tahs Together program and Saturday 18 May sees the annual Subbies v Country curtain raiser taking place before the HSBC Waratahs v Brumbies game with 25 per cent of all proceeds from tickets sold by both groups being donated back to Suburban and Country Rugby. 
Also, following the hugely successful Schools’ March Past prior Stormers’ game last Saturday and the annual Juniors March Past will take place at the Waratahs v Reds match on Saturday 13 July. That game will also feature a curtain raiser between Trinity and Newington Colleges. 
Finally, a reminder that the match-worn Community Jerseys from the HSBC Waratahs game against the Stormers are currently being auctioned online, with all proceeds going to Sydney and Country Junior Rugby. The auction ends on Thursday 23 May.
Photos from the visit and all Tahs Together events are posted on the Waratahs’ Facebook wall at and also listed in the Community section of the Waratahs website.
The events were part of the HSBC Waratahs’ Tahs Together community program that will see players and coaches out and about joining supporters and rugby communities across NSW throughout the season.
Through hundreds of activities and events, the HSBC Waratahs aim to engage with all supporters across the state as part of its support of grassroots rugby.
Each year, Waratahs Rugby contributes well over $1,000,000 to support the development of the community game through grants and payments to the New South Wales Rugby Union.
Tahs Junior Clinics events
Junior Club Blitz events
Club: Easts Rugby Club, O’Sullivan Road, Woollahra
Time: Monday 20 May, 5:30-6:30pm
Club: Sylvania Rugby Club, AR Hurst Reserve, The Promenade, Sylvania
Time: Monday 27 May, 5:30-6:30pm
Club: Beauchamp Park, Nicholson Street, Chatswood
Time: Tuesday 25 June, 5:30-6:30pm
Tahs Junior Club Blitz events - Thursday May 16
Club: Beecroft-Cherrybrook JRUFC
Players: Israel Folau, Peter Betham
Time: 6.15-7.15pm
Club: Easts Wallaroos
Players: Brendan McKibbin, Ollie Atkins
Time: 6.00-7.00pm
Club: Harbord Harlequins
Players: Dave Dennis, Tom Kingston      
Time: 5.30-6.30pm
Club: Manly Roos
Players: Michael Hooper, Matt Lucas
Time: 5.30-6.30pm
Further details of next week’s events will be confirmed on Monday 20 May.
Photos from the visit and all TahsTogether events are posted on the Waratahs’ Facebook wall at and also listed in the Community section of the Waratahs website.


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