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Hulking lock named as Tahs usher in new era without Michael Hooper

By Finn Morton
Clermont's Australian lock Miles Amatosero (C) runs with the ball during the French Union Rugby match between ASM Clermont and RC Toulon at the Michelin stadium in Clermont-Ferrand, central France, on February 26, 2023. (Photo by THIERRY ZOCCOLAN / AFP) (Photo by THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The NSW Waratahs’ squad for the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season is in, and while the group may bring a sense of familiarity with them into the new campaign, there’s some exciting new additions that are sure to raise eyebrows.

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Hulking lock Miles Amatosero has retuned home to Sydney following a promising stint with French club Clermot. Now aged 21, the 6’8, 125kg second row has come home as a marquee recruit.

For quite some time it seemed as if Amatosero was lost to Australian rugby, but the Wallabies hopeful will now pack down in a formidable forward pack along with the likes of Angus Bell, David Porecki, Ned Hanigan and Lachlan Swinton.

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“Miles is an exciting talent, and his return to Australian rugby is a significant milestone for the NSW Waratahs,” head coach Darren Coleman said in statement as the Tahs announced the signing of Amatosero.

“His size, physicality and athleticism at such a young age make him a valuable asset to our forward pack.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Miles, he is very motivated to grow his game and push for higher honours, but first and foremost he needs to get home, work hard and force his way into our strong forward pack, then good things will come from this.”

Former Fijian rugby league representative Vuate Karawalevu is another player to watch out for next season, with the wing signing on with the Tahs for two years

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Karawalevu was a schoolboy rugby union star in Fiji, but was scouted by the Roosters before pursuing an opportunity in the 13-player game. But after in stint in league, the three-Test Fijian Bati international is back in rugby.

“I’ve spent a couple of years in rugby league, but I am incredibly excited to be back playing rugby union, the game I played throughout my whole life,” Karawalevu said in a statement.

“Getting the opportunity to come to a team like the NSW Waratahs is incredible, I’d like to thank the coaches for giving me an opportunity to get back into the game I love, to train hard and hopefully I get the chance to showcase what I can do and pull on the jersey next season”.

With the Waratahs preparing to usher in a new era without veteran flanker Michael Hooper, the likes of Lachlan Swinton and Charlie Gamble will need to set up this year.

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The rest of the squad feels quite familiar, but keep an eye out on halfback Teddy Wilson. Wilson captained the Junior Wallabies at the U20s Championships in South Africa earlier this year.

NSW Waratahs squad for Super Rugby Pacific 2024

Angus Bell, Archer Holz, Charlie Gamble, Daniel Botha, David Porecki, Dylan Pietsch, Fergus Lee-Warner, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Harry Wilson, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Hugh Sinclair, Izaia Perese, Jack Bowen, Jack Grant, Jake Gordon, Jed Holloway, Joey Walton, Lachlan Swinton, Lalakai Foketi, Langi Gleeson, Mahe Vailanu, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen, Miles Amatosero, Mosese Tuipulotu Ned Hanigan, Ned Slack-Smith, Tane Edmed, Teddy Wilson, Theo Fourie, Tom Lambert, Tom Ross, Vuate Karawalevu, Will Harrison

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