NSW Waratahs' recruitment drive expected to snare Queensland backrower

Wed, 15/09/2021, 06:03 am
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper and backrower Rob Valetini have spoken today from the Gold Coast.

The active NSW Waratahs are rumoured to have swooped on University of Queensland No.8 Iona Halaholo to add more ball-running clout to their backrow options for 2022.

Halaholo’s impressive finals series for Queensland’s premiership-winning club sealed the deal for the 24-year-old from Auckland.

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The Waratahs will also be backing his strong Tongan rugby genes because he is the younger brother of Welsh and Cardiff centre Willis Halaholo.

The chance to bid for a chance in Super Rugby Pacific is the result of another of those crazy sliding doors moments in sport.

Uni were keen to sign a prop from New Zealand for this season just gone but were tempted by a prop-plus-friend offer.

In the end, former Fijian prop Ropate Rinakama decided to stay in NZ to further his coaching aspirations but the friend still showed up.

That was Halaholo. After shedding more than 10kg in training in the Brisbane heat, his club season really took off from mid-season.

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He scored his eighth try for Uni in the semi-final win over Brothers and his forceful ball-carrying was a big part of the club’s dominant 29-12 grand final win over GPS on September 5. 

Standout GPS flanker Matt Gicquel’s quest to play in professional rugby has finally come true with a contract to play for an unnamed French club.

The Queensland Reds have awarded elite Developing Squad contracts to seven young players.

Queensland Premier Rugby Under-20s Player of the Year Floyd Aubrey will be joined by schoolboy talents Taj Annan and Carsen Patu, as well as Bond University Premier Grade pairing George Blake and Wilson Blyth. Wests backrow duo Keynan Tauakipulu and LopetiFaifua round out the seven new faces at Ballymore.

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