A GROUP of young rugby players, including Berry’s Will Miller, have returned home to New South Wales and keen to make their mark.
Lock Nick Palmer, midfielders Alex Newsome and Lalakai Foketi, and openside flanker Will Miller have signed with New South Wales, alongside exciting young prop Cody Walker and his fellow front rower Shambeckler Vui.
In addition, Harry Johnson-Holmes and Lachlan Swinton have each signed a 3-year deal. Both are graduates of NSW’s Gen Blue programme, the elite youth development pathway designed to identify and retain talent from an early age.
26-year-old Palmer and 23-year-old Foketi are back in Sydney after playing for Hawke’s Bay and Bay of Plenty respectively in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup competition in 2017.
Also back home is 22-year-old Newsome, who played Super Rugby for the Western Force in 2017 and for Country Eagles in this year’s NRC competition.
24-year-old Miller had a short-term contract with the Rebels in this year’s Super Rugby and returned to Sydney after the competition to captain Northern Suburbs in the Shute Shield.
Walker is another product of the Gen Blue programme and he was also a member of the 2017 Australian Under 20s team at the World Championship in Georgia earlier this year.
Vui, another former Australian Under 20s representative, joins New South Wales after playing for the Western Force this year.
Newsome, Vui and Walker all signed for two years while Palmer, Miller and Foketi have signed for one year.
NSW Waratahs Coach Daryl Gibson said these young players are hungry to get their opportunity at professional rugby.
“We are looking forward to further developing this group of young men,” Gibson said.
“They have impressed the coaching team with their attitudes and willingness to improve and are working hard to succeed.
“The expectation is that they arrive ready to perform and make the most of their opportunity to compete with their team mates for starting spots,” Gibson said.