Eagles hope to continue winning ways after Waratahs visit

Waratahs players Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Sinclair and Max Douglas joined the Cowra Eagles for a training session on Tuesday night. Photo: Kelsey Sutor
Waratahs players Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Sinclair and Max Douglas joined the Cowra Eagles for a training session on Tuesday night. Photo: Kelsey Sutor

A visit from members of the NSW Waratahs this week not only signaled a homecoming for some of the region's favourite sons, but bolstered the Cowra Eagles ahead of their clash with the Dubbo Kangaroos this weekend.

As part of a regional tour, Cowra's Harry Johnson-Holmes and Greenethorpe's Hugh Sinclair, along with fellow Waratah Max Douglas, who also has connections to the local area, joined the Eagles for a training session on Tuesday night.

After giving the Eagles' senior side a few pointers on line out and mauling techniques, Johnson-Holmes said it was great to connect with his junior club once again.

"We have strong ties with Cowra and the Central West as a whole," he said.

"It's rewarding for us to be able to come back... being able to give back as Waratahs now, the communities love it.

"I think it's a really good, mutually beneficial experience and we love it."

Sinclair said he hoped the side would be able to take part in more regional tours in the future.

"It's been good, the boys have actually loved it," he said.

"The country hospitality and country people, they're great people so the boys are getting around it and really enjoying it.

"Hopefully we can do it a fair few more times."

Coaching director, Col Jeffs, said the visit helped to reinforce what the club has been focusing on at training.

"We've been working on the same stuff as what these guys do," Jeffs said.

"Obviously different levels but if we can get our guys to aspire to that level by doing the same things, they'll get better."

Coach Colin Kilby said he was pleased with how the side has been performing, with wins over Orange City and the Bathurst Bulldogs.

"It was pretty pleasing that we're still improving every week," he said.

"We're getting into our systems more and more and sticking to the longer parts of the game.

"We've still got a fair way to go yet, which is a good sign, that we got the win and still got more improvement."

Jeffs said staying engaged in the game for the full 80 minutes would be the focus going forward.

"We're still building, it's third game," he said.

"We're coming together as a unit and the boys are starting to play better. We know there's areas of the game we can improve.

"We just want to keep improving, each week we set another step and with time, the better we will get."

It wasn't only the senior side to benefit from the Waratahs visit, with the squad visiting junior players in Canowindra earlier in the day.

Central West Junior Rugby Union President, Ben Casey, said the kids enjoyed meeting their idols.

"Fantastic to see the Waratahs out here, getting out to all of the junior and most of the senior clubs in our competitions," he said.

"The juniors were just ecstatic to see the players and to meet them and to get some of their advice and they'll be pumped up on that for the best part of a season."

The Waratahs arrived in the region last Sunday, conducting an internal training session, before visiting Blayney and holding meet and greets at Kinross Wolaroi and Wade Park in Orange on Monday.

"Lots of great feedback from that, lots of happy kids, lots of happy parents and talking to the players, they loved it too," Casey said.

"They love these opportunities to get out. We know it's not easy for professional sporting teams to be able to fit this sort of stuff into their schedule.

"Very pleasing from our perspective that when the opportunity did arise, they got straight onto it."

Casey said it was great to see local talent return to the region for a quick visit.

"The local connection is fantastic, these are fantastic people, they're wonderful ambassadors both for our town and our region and indeed rugby as a whole," he said.

"They're all wonderful, level-headed, well-spoken, intelligent young men and good blokes."