Roach extends Waratahs stay

Date published: June 22 2016

The Waratahs have announced the re-signing of yet another talented young player with hooker Hugh Roach committing to the club for a further two seasons until the end of 2018.

Roach is the eighth Waratah to extend his allegiances with the club this year following the re-signing of prop Paddy Ryan last week.

The two join an increasing list of players demonstrating their loyalty to the team in 2016, including internationals Sekope Kepu and Taqele Naiyaravoro, record try-scorers Jed Holloway and Andrew Kellaway, and New South Wales Country-born up-and-coming prop, Matt Sandell.

It is yet another boost for the Tahs as they prepare for some of their biggest matches of the 2016 Super Rugby season, which returns next week following the June Test break.

Born and bred in New South Wales, Roach has earned 18 Super Rugby caps for the Club so far, following his Waratahs Super Rugby debut in 2014. He played two games during the Waratahs’ Super Rugby Championship winning year, before his starting debut last year.

Noted for his high work rate, Roach has emerged as one of the team’s most important figures in 2016, with Tatafu Polota-Nau and Tolu Latu ruled out to injury at the start of the season.

It’s an opportunity the 23-year-old hooker has grasped with both hands, becoming a regular member of the match day squad and contributing to their impressive form in the back half of the season.

Waratahs forwards coach Cam Blades said he was pleased to see another of the Waratahs’ key front row stocks deciding to extend their time with the Club.

“Hugh has taken his opportunities well this year by working hard to develop the key areas of his game, which has been reflected in his consistent performances on the field,” he told the Waratahs’ official website.

“He also gained loads of invaluable experience whilst Tatafu and Tolu were out injured. His good form has meant that, upon their return, he has so far been able to retain his place in the match day 23.

“I’m really looking forward to assisting in his continued development and success in the years to come.”

The son of former Western Suburbs first-grade hooker Graham Roach, Roach began his junior rugby career with Hunters Hill before making the move to Gordon Rugby Club where he was a member of the juniors program.

Educated at Newington College, Roach represented the Australian Schoolboys on 11 occasions between 2009 and 2010 and remains as one of the most capped schools rugby players in Australia.

In 2011 he was selected in the Australian U20 squad, making three appearances against Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.

He earned another four Australian U20 caps when he was chosen to play in the 2012 IRB Junior World Championships against Scotland, Argentina and France twice.

With the ability to play at hooker or in the number seven jersey, Roach started at openside flanker in Eastwood’s runners-up campaign in 2013. In what was his opening season of the first grade competition he was announced as the Shute Shield Rookie of the Year, following in the footsteps of previous winners and Waratah teammates Bernard Foley and Jed Holloway.

His impressive form saw him picked up by the Western Force, where he made his provincial debut against the British & Irish Lions in June 2013.

A passionate member of the NSW club rugby scene, Hugh was part of Eastwood’s back-to-back Shute Shield Premiership winning side in 2014 and 2015.

Roach was first called up to join the NSW Waratahs’ extended playing squad ahead of the 2014 season, having developed a reputation for his uncompromising tackles and fearless approach to the game.