Waratahs ‘unanimously’ back Gordon as Coleman praises Roberts influence

Mon, Feb 7, 2022, 5:42 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Less than two weeks out from the start of the inaugural season, the virtual launch will bring together the captains and coaches of all Australian-based teams as we preview this exciting new era.

The NSW Waratahs have backed Jake Gordon as captain for 2022 as the club leans on added experience ahead of Super Rugby Pacific.

Gordon, who led the side in 2021, was reappointed to the role in a unanimous vote by the playing group.

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Waratahs coach Darren Coleman believes the scrumhalf will be a better leader having gone through the 'tough times' last season.

He’s a natural leader and the boys respect him,” Coleman said.

“I intentionally don’t make many of those types of decisions, I like my players to have that input and it was unanimous. The team want him to lead and he’ll be better for the tough times he went through last year.”

“I think it’s great recognition from the group, especially after the year we had,” Gordon added.

“It was difficult for everyone involved in the team and organisation so for the guys to support me means a lot.”

The club are continuing to build after their second trial last Saturday, defeating Shute Shield trio West Harbour, Hunter Wildfires, and the Western Sydney Two Blues in three 25-minute matches.

The unique trial gave Coleman an ideal look at the wider squad, with their final trial against the Reds expected to give fans an early look at the side that will run out against the Fijian Drua on February 18.

The Roma match will also likely be their first look at new import Jamie Roberts after his arrival last week.

Whilst he only joined the team just days ago, Coleman was quick to notice his impact on some of the younger backs as he looks to develop mentors throughout the squad.

“It’s awesome, we sort of stumbled across that one,” Coleman said on Roberts.

“Having done that season in LA (Giltinis) it did hit home the importance of having good mentors and leaders having Matt Giteau and Adam-Ashley Cooper as well as Dave Dennis. The effect is really deep and something you don’t realise as a coach. “A big part of his role is going to be teaching these young guys how to be a professional and how to back up the mental side of the game.

“I’ve only known him for a short time but he’s impressed me. He’s a highly intelligent bloke, he’s got an MBA from Cambridge, he’s a switched on dude and (a) good bloke who’s fitted into this group perfectly.

“We’ve already got three or four young centres hanging off every word he says so he’ll be good for the group.

“Don’t be mistaken, he’s still a competitor and wants to be here. He’s not coming here to ride the pine or not get picked, he wants to be in the team and wants to win. He’ll get a run this week up at Roma and if he handles the heat, we’ll see how he goes after that.”

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