HELPING HAND: Waratah player Bernard Foley helps to coach local school kids at a camp held at the Wollongbar Rugby grounds.
HELPING HAND: Waratah player Bernard Foley helps to coach local school kids at a camp held at the Wollongbar Rugby grounds. Marc Stapelberg

Waratahs gets their "mongrel" back

JED Holloway says new Waratahs head coach Michael Cheika has helped transform the mood at the club and is bringing the "mongrel" spirit back to the ranks.

Yamba product Holloway was back on the Far North Coast yesterday with Waratahs teammate Bernard Foley, visiting schools and clubs in the region.

Both players will be hoping for a better 2013 after the Waratahs endured a miserable Super 15 campaign this year.

Holloway said the coach, who was appointed in September, had helped revitalise everyone at the team.

"You can tell the difference from last year," he said.

"From all accounts, there was an 'upstairs-downstairs' feel at the club, but now everyone is working together.

"Mick has said that he wants us to have that mongrel attitude to the game and play the expansive game that brings crowds together.

"We are training really hard and you can see his influence already."

Holloway and Foley met pupils at St Finbarr's Primary School in Byron Bay, where they also hosted a skills session.

After visiting Byron Bay Public School and Bangalow Primary School, the duo oversaw a training session at Wollongbar Alstonville Rugby Club.

Holloway said he was impressed with the skills of the children and said he hoped the visit would encourage their participation in the sport.

"It is only three years ago that I was running around here for the Yamba Buccaneers," he said.

"I guess it shows that it can happen to anyone.

"There is so much talent in the Far North Coast and it is just about being recognised."

The 20-year-old also said that Quade Cooper would be a "massive" loss to rugby, but the number 10 must bear the consequences of his actions.

Cooper, 24, arguably the most exciting talent in the Wallabies' line-up, may walk away from the sport after a dispute with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) over recent media comments.

"Quade is an outstanding talent," Holloway said. "It would be a massive loss for Australian rugby.

"I guess everyone has the right to have their say (but) the ARU dealt with it.

"Quade now has to deal with that or take a different path."

Holloway also said he was unconcerned about the future of rugby in Australia, although he conceded the game had to become more interesting.

"We need to work on issues like (clarifying) the rules of the game so people can understand the game better," he said.

"I guess it's also about scoring more tries so people can be interested. I am not too worried (though)."



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