NSW Waratahs stalwart Jed Holloway says their new-look squad must build on the legacy left by a host of departing stars and drive new standards.
Among the players who left after last season includes Wallabies Bernard Foley, Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tolu Latu and Curtis Rona.
The Tahs have retained a nucleus of proven players including Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, utility back Kurtley Beale and lock Rob Simmons.
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They boast several other Wallabies in props Tom Robertson, Harry Johnson-Holmes and Tetera Faulkner.
Fellow forwards Jack Dempsey and Ned Hanigan, and backs Jake Gordon, Jack Maddocks and Karmichael Hunt, are also in the squad.
Holloway said other players are now becoming more vocal.
“I think all the senior, more capped guys have really found themselves stepping up like Ned, Jake, Lalakai (Foketi) Tom (Staniforth),” Holloway said on Monday.
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“If we don’t continue the legacy of Keps, and all those guys that have left, then we won’t be much of a team.
“We need to continue to do that and continue to drive those standards and drive new standards as well and create our own path.”
While external expectations of the Tahs’ prospects under new coach Rob Penney may be lower than last year,.Holloway stressed they remained high within the group.
“Internally our vision is to win a Super Rugby title every year, so we feel like we’re doing the right thing at training,” Holloway said.
“Hopefully we get to show that to the crowd and the public come round one.”
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The Tahs start their Super Rugby campaign on February 1 away to three-time defending champions, the Crusaders.
Before that, they have a trial on Friday at Leichhardt Oval against the Highlanders and one against Queensland next week.
Holloway has returned from a short stint at famous Irish team Munster, where he played five games and worked under a coaching group including former Wallabies five-eighth and ex-Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham.
“I feel like I got a lot out of it and refreshed me mentally,”‘ Holloway said.
“I’m just really grateful that I got that opportunity and they allowed me to do that and I think it made me a better footy player as well,
“Hopefully that translates into Super Rugby and hopefully it can take me further.”
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