Wallabies duo clinch new deals

Date published: May 27 2013

Wallabies forward duo Tatafu Polota Nau and Wycliff Palu have signed new contracts with Australia Rugby and the Waratahs.

Wallabies forward duo Tatafu Polota Nau and Wycliff Palu have signed new contracts with Australia Rugby and the Waratahs.

Hooker Polota Nau, who has 44 Test caps to his name, is now signed up until 2016, while Palu, who plays at number eight, has agreed a two-year extension.

While currently sidelined after breaking his arm during the Waratahs' recent win over the Brumbies which will see him miss Australia's upcoming series against the Lions, the 27-year-old remains positive about his chance of returning for the Waratahs' final Super Rugby game of the season against the Reds in July.

A return to Super Rugby action would put him in position to be available for the second edition of the Rugby Championship that begins on August 17 when the Wallabies tackle the All Blacks in Sydney.

“I'd like to earn the right to win a few trophies,” he said.

“The Bledisloe Cup in particular. New Zealand has had that for far too long and I'd like to be around to help Australia get it back.”

Acknowledging that attending another Rugby World Cup was also in his mind, as was the pursuit of a Super Rugby title with the Waratahs, the 2012 Waratahs Player of the Year said: “They are all things you can't achieve if you are not in Australia.”

Since making his debut for the Sydney-based franchise back in 2005 – the same year made his Test debut – the 2005 IRB U21 Player of the Year has represented his state on 103 occasions, making him the Waratahs' seventh most capped player of all time, just three behind former back-rower David Lyons.

30-year-old Palu has turned his back on off-shore opportunities and is excited about his future with the Waratahs and Australia.

“I'm happy to get the contract negotiations out of the way, and my playing future sorted,” he said.

“Playing for the Wallabies and the Waratahs has meant a lot to me. Neither were opportunities that I really wanted to give up, but I was also mindful of the fact through the negotiation process that I can't go on forever.

“I've got two children now, so maximizing my opportunities to secure their future and that of myself and my partner was the main priority, but the Australian Rugby Union and the Waratahs were very understanding of that, and we all got the outcome we were looking for.”

Since making his Super Rugby debut against the Chiefs in 2005, Palu has represented the Waratahs on 95 occasions, scoring 12 tries.

He is the franchise's ninth most capped player and needs just five more appearances to become just the eighth player (and third loose forward after Phil Waugh and David Lyons) to appear 100 times in the sky blue.

As well as allowing him to continue his quest for a maiden title after appearing in the Waratahs sides which lost the 2005 and 2008 finals to the Robbie Deans-coached Crusaders, Palu hopes to feature at his third Rugby World Cup when the Wallabies head to England in 2015.

He is currently just four games away from becoming just the second Australian number eight to play 50 Tests after first representing his country against England in 2006.

Seven years later, he now sits 11 Test appearances behind Australia's most capped number eight, Toutai Kefu (57), and could surpass the that record this year, with 13 Tests on the Wallabies' agenda.

“It's been frustrating at times, and I've missed a lot more rugby than I would have liked, but it's the nature of playing a contact sport I guess,” added Palu.

“That's why it was important to take the time to weigh up both my financial future as well as where I wanted to be, before signing this contract.

“Being forced to watch so often does make you cherish the time you do get in the jersey that little bit more.”