Jed Holloway (right) of the Waratahs is tackled by Lopeti Timani of the Rebels  .
Jed Holloway (right) of the Waratahs is tackled by Lopeti Timani of the Rebels . PAUL MILLER/AAP PHOTOS

Holloway in top form ahead of Super Rugby season

RUGBY UNION: Yamba junior Jed Holloway said he was in the best shape he has ever been in ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

After finding a home in the second-row midway through last season, Holloway has honed his craft at the position.

"Being in the second-row I get my hands on the ball a lot more than I would in the back row which is something I have relished," he said.

"I have really enjoyed taking on the challenge, and now that my body is used to being in the scrums, I am keen to keep that going."

Holloway has enjoyed a full pre-season with the Waratahs camp, and was given the honour to vice-captain the side in two pre-season trial matches.

"I am just pumped to have another season for the club, it has been really good preperation," he said.

"I haven't had a full off-season for three years now because I have had niggling injuries or hamstring issues, but that changed this year.

"I guess as one of the older guys at the Tahs, I am just relishing bringing those younger guys through and helping them get used to life as a rugby player."

The Waratahs came close to the Super Rugby trophy last season, losing to the Lions in the Johannesburg semi-finals.

While they were the only Australian conference team to reach the finals, Holloway said they had not thought about it once this year.

"I think we have moved on from last season, we are just using our efforts as a motivational thing, not that we need much more motivation.

"What helps is a lot of people are saying is our pack is too small and it doesn't get any go forward. People writing us off like that is motivation enough.

"We want to prove a lot of people wrong, we just use that as fuel."

The Waratahs have also strengthened their squad in the off-season with the addition of Wallabies legend Adam Ashley-Cooper and code-hopper Karmichael Hunt.

For Holloway, the return of Ashley-Cooper to the Waratahs, has brought back plenty of memories.

"He really took me under his wing when I was an 18-year-old coming through the ranks," he said. "I learnt so much off him then, and I am still learning from him now.

"He rips in at training, which as a 34-year-old, it is really inspirational to see. I think I'll be back playing for the Buccaneers by the time I am that age."

The NSW Waratahs will kick off their Super Rugby campaign with a baptism of fire against the Hurricanes at Brookvale Oval tomorrow night.