Wallabies prop Tom Robertson concedes he was unhappy at the NSW Waratahs last year, and has described his move to the Western Force as like a breath of fresh air.
Robertson made 62 appearances for the Waratahs over five seasons before signing for the Force last September.
The 26-year-old, who played 24 Tests for Australia between 2016-18, hopes his move to the Force will help rekindle his international career.
But more importantly Robertson wants to be in a happy place – something he found hard at the Waratahs last year.
“I wasn’t that happy at the Waratahs to be honest,” Robertson said on Friday.
“I was considering staying there for another two years, but in the end the upside to the Force was too big to ignore.
“There’s a lot of off-field issues at the Waratahs. I love the players there. The player group is amazing. But just coming over here, it’s a breath of fresh air.
“Having a new coaching staff, a new performance staff, and dealing with new people has really reinvigorated my rugby, so hopefully I can keep that going.”
More than a quarter of NSW Rugby staff were made redundant in June last year when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard.
The organisation is still struggling financially, and Robertson said the security of the Andrew Forrest-owned Force was a huge plus.
“Being privately owned by the Forrest family is a big advantage to this club, and having that financial security,” he said.
“And the other players that they had coming across, half the names are international players. It’s almost like playing in an international team at the moment with the calibre of players we have.”
A former NZ rugby administrator has been handed the job of turning the Western Force into a trans-Tasman powerhouse after being named as the franchise's new chief executive. #WesternForce #SuperRugby https://t.co/PM9pbzOFLh
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 5, 2021
Getting back into the Wallabies’ set-up is a major goal for Robertson.
But he knows it will be no easy feat in a Force outfit bristling with international and Australian talent.
Veteran Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani has joined Robertson at the Force, along with Argentinian internationals Tomas Cubelli, Tomas Lezana, Santi ago Medrano and Domingo Miotti.
Legendary Irish fullback Rob Kearney has been the Force’s biggest recruit, while former All Blacks Richard Kahui and Jeremy Thrush have re-signed from last season.
“I think the depth we’ve got here, it’s a bit nerve-wracking,” Robertson said.
“I’ve got to get into the team here before you start talking about the Wallabies jersey.”
Robertson described Tim Sampson as “tough but fair”, saying the Force coach was willing to take things on board.
“He’s very approachable, Robertson said.
“If a lot of the senior players have ideas, he takes that on board and incorporates that in his game plan.”
– Justin Chadwick
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