The Waratahs have signed Hamdan Tuipulotu and Geoff Cridge in a bid to bolster the depth of their forwards ahead of the inaugural 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
Tuipulotu, the younger brother of All Black Patrick Tuipulotu, signed for the Waratahs as a “project player” on the Extended Development team and is excited about the opportunity ahead.
“The Waratahs are a world class team and I am excited to be here. It was definitely an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Hamdan.
“From the outside the last few years have seemed difficult, but there is so much potential here and a great coaching staff and I can’t wait to see what we can do on the pitch.”
Head coach Darren Coleman sees Tuipulotu as a future prospect with great potential to add value to the wider Waratah squad.
“We had some unforeseen staff losses at prop and had to bolster our squad in that area,” Coleman said.
“We loved what we saw from Hamdan and have worked hard with Western Sydney Two Blues to bring him to Sydney.
“We see Hamdan as a project player for the future and feel he will contribute strongly not only to our program but also to the Western Sydney Two Blues and their revival in the Shute Shield.”
Cridge, a former New Zealand U20 star, joins Tuipulotu in making the journey across the Tasman to take his place in the Waratahs squad after representing the Hurricanes at Super Rugby level.
The addition of Cridge, 26, and the return of Jed Holloway means Coleman has power in the depths at sluice.
The 26-year-old is eager to return to Super Rugby after playing only provincial rugby in New Zealand in recent seasons.
“The last two years I’ve had off I’ve been itching to play Super Rugby, so to get another chance here at the Waratahs I’ll definitely make the most of it,” said Cridge.
“There’s a good group of guys here, everyone is walking around each other and really staying connected. No one is bigger than the team and it’s a great environment to be a part of and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Cridge put in a blockbuster season for Hawke’s Bay in the 2021 NPC, catching the eye of coach Coleman while taking home the team’s best striker award.
“Obviously I’m a huge fan of the Shute Shield and it will always be my first port of call for talent – but it’s no secret that within this team we were looking for a high quality tight headlock, and unfortunately we couldn’t find one. find,” Coleman said.
“He suits the type of player we need in the tight head-lock position, bringing a lot of size and experience, and we’re excited to see him compete with the guys we have here in Jed Holloway, Max Douglas, Jeremy Williams and Hugh Sinclair.
“We are also delighted that he has decided to choose West Harbor as his Shute Shield club, where he will be a real asset to their rugby program.”