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'Gypsy football player' joins his fourth Super Rugby side

Rugby nomad Robbie Abel wants to be a calming voice to the youngsters at the NSW Waratahs, the latest destination on his sporting journey.

The 30-year-old hooker has been attached to three other Super Rugby franchises, Western Force, the Brumbies and last year with the Melbourne Rebels

He’s also plied his rugby trade in New Zealand for Northland and most recently Auckland, with who he won the Mitre 10 Cup premiership in 2018, when he also represented the Maori All Blacks.

“I’ve been to a few teams so I’ve kind of become a bit of a gypsy football player,” Abel said

“I’m always open to opportunities and exploring new things.

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“Being in this environment kind of suits me as well, to be able to bring something new to the team.

“I’ve learnt a lot along the way from different teams and franchises and I love to stay very open-minded so I look to continue to learn and grow.”

Abel, who will be vying with Waratahs stalwart Damien Fitzpatrick for the starting hooker role, also shapes as a mentor for their young emerging forwards.

“It is a young pack, but for me that”s the exciting thing about it,” Abel said.

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Interesting to see so many Kiwi 10's in the mix for this, and three-time Super Rugby champion Richie Mo'unga. If you have a certain level of attacking upside, defensive ability is less important in Super Rugby as a 10. ? #superrugby #crusaders #chiefsrugby #highlanders #sharksrugby #nzrugby #sarugby #allblacks #springboks

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“Being a little bit older, these young kids definitely give me a fair bit of energy and I love throwing a little bit of chat around with the young boys here

“I look to bring the things that I’ve learnt along the way, hopefully that maybe sometimes I can give a calming voice to some of those young boys, who are really good players and are going to be stars of the future.”

Adjusting to the demands of the Waratahs new kiwi coach Rob Penney shouldn’t be an issue for Abel, given his familiarity with rugby in New Zealand.

‘”The mindset there is great, the positive way they approach their rugby,” he said

“I’ve found that Rob brings that same enthusiasm, that same positivity to the way we approach our stuff here.”

Abel is set to have his first run in Waratahs colours on Friday in a pre-season trial against New Zealand’s Highlanders at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval.

There should be some family banter in the lead-up to the Tahs games with the Brumbies, with Able’s father Tony, the operations manager at the Canberra-based franchise.

– AAP

The Crusaders have made a coaching signing straight out of left field ahead of the 2020 season:

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'Gypsy football player' joins his fourth Super Rugby side