The Waratahs are in a desperate race to find a replacement for departed lock Dan Vickerman, with their attempts to sign another Wallaby veteran, Justin Harrison, and South African Anton van Zyl having failed.
Rugby 365 reports that Vickerman had quit Australia earlier this year to pursue his studies at Cambridge University in England.
At the weekend the ‘Tahs admitted defeat in their bid to sign Harrison.
The Sydney-based side had hoped to lure Harrison back home ahead of the new Super 14 season, but according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph lengthy talks between the two parties broke down last week.
Harrison, capped 34 times by Australia, is instead expected to sign a one-year contract extension with his current English Premiership side Bath.
Waratahs coach Chris Hickey also revealed that attempts to lure Van Zyl, who plays for the Johannesburg-based Lions, to Sydney had failed because the Australian Rugby Union felt he didn’t fit their plans.
“We’re casting the net now to Australian players who may be playing overseas who may be available,” Hickey told the newspaper.
“We’ve got two players we’re talking to at the moment and we feel they’re realistic options for us.
“We want to fill that [spot at lock] in January. In the meantime we’ve been working with some of the good young locks we’ve got at the Waratahs like Chris Thompson and Kane Douglas.”
Harrison, 34, said linking with Hickey had been a major temptation. The pair have been tight friends for 15 years after Hickey recruited Harrison to Canberra in 1993, the springboard for his international career.
“Chris pretty much started the rugby journey for me,” Harrison said. “I regard him as a very good coach and someone I have a lot more than just a rugby relationship with.
“There’s no doubt there’s a bit of a second-row problem at the Waratahs in particular, but I think in terms of Australian rugby we’re looking good.”Tweet