A message from Head Coach Robert Taylor

The ‘off-season’ has passed in a blink of an eye. Training is well under way now for 2019 while a core group that will represent all teams throughout the Club have been training since October.

The mindset going into 2019, is no different, it is about being at our best in our preparation and on game days. It is a clean slate when it comes to selections, no player owns the jersey, just because someone might have worn it for ten games last year or wore it on Grand Final day, there is no guarantee they will wear it in 2019. If we lean on the past as coaches, players, as a team or club we will be eaten up by complacency.

In terms of playing depth, we will be without Rohan O’Regan (UK), Matt Sandell (USA), Paddy Ryan (USA), Brad Wilkin (Rebels) and we hope to see Lachlan Swinton, Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Chris Talakai, Nick Phipps and Jake Gordon all playing regularly for the Waratahs and Wallabies.

As normal, we are looking within the Club for the thirty to forty players to form a Shute Shield winning team, players that are coming up from Colts to keep an eye on are props Charlie Hancock and Thomas Osborne, loose-forwards Rory Suttor and Josh Kemeny and centre/winger Will Terry. They are just a few of an exciting bunch that will be Grade players in 2019, others that will push through are; Will Wennerbom, Josh Hardie, Connor Grindal, Sean Anese, Angus Chadwick, Sam Ridley, Ed Renton and many others. Like in the past a few eligible Colts will no doubt get their taste of Grade rugby in 2019 as we develop for 2020 and beyond.  

We have an exciting preseason schedule on the horizon a with twelve day tour of New Zealand playing against the Highlanders and Crusaders Development teams in February. We have selected a squad of 40 players at this stage who we think MAY form the core of 1st to 3rd Grade. I have may in capitals, as we still have seven weeks (and a full season) after we return of preseason training and games, we know there will be players who are not on this tour who will be so good they cannot be ignored.  There are also a contingent of players that will not be attending the tour for various reasons that will be remaining in Sydney.

It is a real privilege and unique opportunity to be able to play against these two teams, with the Crusaders recently voted Australasia’s most successful sports team. Playing and interacting with both organisations will provide plenty of lessons on and off the field for our Club to ultimately enrich our own development programme and general offering to all levels of players and coaches.

At the end of the tour, the squad will be attending Eden Park to watch Crusaders play the Blues. Of note, the Blues have a SUFC alumni Daniel Halangahu as their assistant coach.

The touring team depart Sydney on the 7th of February, returning on the 17th of February.

If any Uni supporters fancy a trip across the ditch to watch what promises to be two highly competitive and entertaining games of rugby please contact us and we can provide more details on the tour itinerary. 

There is also another unique opportunity to see the world as the Club have been invited to take part in the World University Rugby Invitational Tournament being held in Japan in September. More details about this trip will be shared with supporters throughout the season.

Below are the confirmed preseason trial fixtures, match timings will be confirmed closer to the date. 

Up the Students!

Robert Taylor
Head Coach

2019 Trial fixtures

Friday 8th February 2019

1st Grade vs Highlanders Development Squad

5pm, Dunedin, New Zealand

Friday 15th February 2019

1st Grade vs Crusaders Development Squad

5pm, Christchurch, New Zealand

Saturday 9th March 2019 

Colts trial vs Newcastle Uni

Away (venue TBC)

Saturday 16th March 2019 

Aust. Club Championship vs GPS

Ballymore, QLD

Rest of club trials vs Warringah

Rat Park

Saturday 23rd March 2019 

Full Club trials vs. Eastwood

Grade @ Uni, Colts @ T.G. Millner