'I found that love again': Holloway eager to inspire Waratahs after unfulfilling exit

Wed, 24/11/2021, 04:18 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
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Returning Waratah Jed Holloway is eager to ensure his second stint with the club ends better than his first as he looks to guide the youthful squad.

Holloway departed the Waratahs in 2019 in less than ideal fashion, departing for Toyota Verbilitz with little belief he would return to his boyhood club.

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Despite this, the love for the Waratahs never faltered and when the opportunity came up to return alongside teammate Michael Hooper, he was raring to go, even if he thought he might have felt the club didn't feel the same way.

‘I’ve always wanted to play for the ‘Tahs and I guess when I left, the thing I was most upset about was not leaving how I wanted to leave,” he told reporters.

“I think that was something the whole time I was Japan and away that was burning in me. I watched all the boys games because I knew a fair amount of the squad here.

“When Hoops talked about (coming home) and we had a discussion about returning home, I was like ‘I’m super keen but I thought they don’t think they will’ and then conversations developed from there.

“Once we started to gather momentum there was no question about whether I’d come back or not. It was just a matter of if they wanted me.”

Jed Holloway will start at No. 8 against the Sharks. Photo: Getty Images
Jed Holloway during his first stint with the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images

Holloway's departure from Australian Rugby allowed him to re-evaluate his love for the game and release years of frustration that had built up.

After a standout 2016 campaign, the quest to live up to his Wallaby expectations and injuries weighed on his mind, significantly affecting his performances.

“The biggest thing for me I learnt is in Sydney, for me, I felt the pressure a bit in Sydney and the Waratahs,” he explained.

“I think there was an expectation after my 2016 year and I felt that anticipation a bit...The pressure to come back and be the same player I was (before the shoulder injury) and to be that right away, ate at me, I succumbed to it.

"I didn’t perform well in 2017 and then 2018 come by and Michael Wells established himself. I was bounced between lock and number eight and I ended up being a lock for that year.

“I then faulted again but it’s definitely not through anyone else’s doing. It was me succumbing to that pressure and not being the best professional that I should have been.”

"Going away, learning that culture (in Japan) and learning from guys with huge amounts of experience, I learnt to enjoy the game and appreciate my teammates and the fact that it is my job but I play because I grew up loving it.

“I found that love again. I think for me, I just needed that time to re-ignite the fire and remotivate myself, work out what was true to me and what I wanted to be seen as a Rugby player and a person."

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Having learnt how to deal with pressure from the likes of Kieran Reed and Willie Le Roux, Holloway is looking to impart his wisdom to a fresh Waratahs squad on and off the field.

“I want to show up for them. Make sure they can come to me to have a conversation whether it’s about Rugby or life and make sure they’re comfortable doing it,” he added.

“I’m not a very vocal person but if someone is wanting to or is caught up with something, just give them the safe space and sit down and have a yarn with them about whatever that might be. I know that stuff weighs on you and affect your Rugby if you don’t get it off your chest.

“I want to be a platform to get that off their chest and guide this team to the best result on the weekend.”

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