The NSW Waratahs have secured the services of Jack Whetton on a two-year deal, with the second-rower joining Rob Penney’s squad for the 2021 Super Rugby season.

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Whetton – who featured for the Highlanders in Super Rugby Aotearoa – will link up with the Waratahs in January for pre-season training.

No stranger to Australian rugby, Whetton made his Super Rugby debut for the Brumbies back in 2014 before heading north to Europe, where appearances for Leicester Tigers, Nevers and Yorkshire Carnegie would follow.

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He returned to New Zealand to link up with the Highlanders in 2018, while also plying his trade for Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup – continuing an association with the club that stretches back to 2013.

He joins a new look second row contingent for the Waratahs, following the signings of both Sam Wykes and Sam Caird.

Whilst Whetton’s father, Gary played 56 Tests for the All Blacks, he qualifies for Australian selection through his grandfather.

NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that Whetton’s recruitment was another step towards finalising the 2021 forward pack.

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“There’s a real need for quality locks in the player market at the moment, it’s something that’s been talked about fairly publicly over the last 12 months,” Rapp said.

“We recognised some gaps in our roster in that position and have recruited accordingly.

“A player of Jack’s quality being available made things easy, he’s got great experience in the southern and northern hemispheres and will complement our other recent signings in Sam Wykes and Caird.”

NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney was looking forward to welcoming Whetton to New South Wales.

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“It’s another great signing for us as we get stuck into pre-season for 2021,” Penney said.

“Jack’s been a part of the Highlanders system for the past couple of years and has been playing some great footy for Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup.

“He’s a good character who will fit well into the environment we’re creating here and I’m looking forward to seeing him contribute significantly to our group.”

Whetton said he was excited about the challenge ahead in 2021.

“All the conversations I’ve had with Tim [Rapp] and Rob [Penney] have given me a great indication of the direction the Waratahs are heading and I’m looking forward to contributing to that,” Whetton said.

“There’s a lot to like about the way Rob wants us to play and I’m keen to work with the wider coaching group who are all well respected figures in the game.

“It’s great to be coming back to Australia, I’ve got great memories from my last stint here and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead in New South Wales.”

– Waratahs Rugby

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