Waratahs backrower Jed Holloway says a greater focus on skills in the preseason is going to benefit every Australian Super Rugby club.
The recycled preseason phrase is that they are tougher every year but Holloway said there was a big focus on the skill side of things after a dismal 2017 in Super Rugby for Australia.
“It’s been a hell of a lot of running, a lot of up-downs, a lot of ball skills,” he said.
“That’s the main area we recognised wasn’t good enough last year, not just at our club but all of Australian rugby.
“The coaches have done a great job recognising that and the boys have been working hard on those skills.
“It’s not just out on the field, we’re getting in sessions after gym, making sure we’re hitting a lot of passes during the day.”
Another 2018 change for the Waratahs will be the addition of outside back Curtis Rona, someone Holloway said would bring some useful experience, after 57 NRL games and a 2017 Test debut.
“I don’t really know Curtis personally but obviously, he’s a Wallaby, he has a huge amount of experience in rugby league and even over in the Force.
“He’s a bit of an older head as well around the squad.”
Holloway and many of the Waratahs squad were at Randwick Hospital on Wednesday, visiting children in the Starlight room, singing Christmas carols and delivering presents to some of the wards.
It’s a cause for which Holloway is an ambassador and one that is close to his heart, his cousin having suffered from leukaemia and receiving support from the foundation.
The 25-year-old said the visits reminded every player how lucky they were.
“We’re living the dream being rugby players and we get to do what we love every day and the kids here and the families here aren’t that fortunate so now we’ve got a chance to make a difference,” he said.
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“Starlight have been huge to my family, my cousin being sick and they looked after my family.
Now I’m in a position to make a bit of a difference I like to make sure that I rock in and make a difference as well, because I know how far it goes for the families and I don’t know what they’re going through but I know that I can make a slight difference in their life.”
The Waratahs take on the Stormers in their opening Super Rugby clash on Saturday February 24, 2018, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Tickets at waratahs.com.au.