With less than a month until the 2019 Super Rugby season kicks off, and the Sydney Sevens even closer (Friday 1 February – Sunday 3 February), it’s time to get excited about the year ahead for Australian Rugby.
With that in mind, RUPA reached out to all of the current and former players on our Board to find out their thoughts on the year ahead; first up, RUPA President and current NSW Waratahs star, Damien Fitzpatrick.
Fitzy, what are you most excited about, from an Australian Rugby perspective, in 2019?
“I can’t wait for the Super Rugby and Super W competitions to kick off.
“I think all of the Australian Super Rugby squads are really well balanced and full of strong talent, and the coaching staff are quite experienced now as well.
“It should make for some brutal Aussie derbies, and the conference is certainly there for the taking this year.
“I also expect Super W to go up a gear this season, and I’m really looking forward to watching the progression our women’s domestic competition.”
Which Australian player(s) are you most looking forward to watching in action this year, and why?
“This is where you usually expect players to answer with a young player or rookie to keep an eye out for, but personally I’m looking forward to seeing some grey beards get around!
“Seeing AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) back in action for NSW and playing back in Australia is one that comes to mind, and I’m looking forward to watching Keps (Sekope Kepu) go at it again; for a big man, he never ceases to amaze me at what he can do!
“I think Locky McCaffrey from the Brumbies had a great year last season and had a good break over the NRC to refresh, so I think he primed for a big year too.”
What does serving on the RUPA Board mean to you?
“I love being involved in RUPA, what it stands for and what we do for our membership.
“Serving the players on the Board of RUPA is a responsibility I take very seriously. As a player representative we serve close to 200 of our peers, which something that I constantly remind myself.”
What do you think is the single most pressing issue facing Australian Rugby heading into 2019?
“The future format of Super Rugby.
“I believe we are the premier Rugby competition in the world. Therefore, it’s vital that all stakeholders work collaboratively to deliver a format for Super Rugby that yields quality Rugby matches, that entertains, energises and grows our fanbases, while aiding to retain and develop player talent.”
What is your all-time favourite Australian Rugby memory?
“I loved watching the Wallabies win the series against the British & Irish Lions in 2001.”