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Waratahs’ Jack of all trades

Jack Dempsey is a blindside flanker who plays for the Waratahs, writes Benedict Chanakira

Picture: Gregg Porteous

Aged at just 22, the Australian talent will be hoping 2017 is the year he takes his game to the next level. The youngster had a stellar season in the NRC for the North Harbour Rays and was rewarded with an opportunity to join the Wallabies as one of four ‘development’ players during their European tour. The flanker was impressive in the Wallaby XV defeat to the French Barbarians.

The ability for the 109kg prospect is undoubted. He can play anywhere in the back row and will be a valuable member of the Waratahs squad. It will be key to see the Waratahs develop him into a blindside flanker who will offer the Australians a strong ball carrier and abrasive defender. Playing alongside Michael Hooper, Israel Folau and Bernard Foley will bring the best out of the youngster. The former Australia under 20 star has enough potential to don the Wallabies jersey should he keep working. He will be one of the players to watch in the Tahs’ bid for Australian dominance.

A strong ball carrier and impressive handling skills, Dempsey could form a dynamic backrow with Jed Holloway and Michael Hooper. The apprenticeship under Jacques Potgieter and David Pocock in particular will serve him in good stead this season and his mobility will be an added bonus to the Waratahs pack. The Waratahs environment will offer him the right opportunity to fulfil this potential and he could end up as a super star and not just a “rookie with potential”.

At 1,91m he will offer an alternative line out option for the New South Wales side who had one of the worst line outs in the competition last season. Hoping for a strong start in 2017, the Waratahs will be hoping to score more than the 55 tries they scored last season. An area that hampered their title bid, especially their overreliance on Israel Folau who was the side’s main try threat. The Australian international crossed the whitewash eleven times – topping the tournament’s try scoring charts in the process. The Waratahs boasted one of the best defense’s in the Australasian conference and in the tournament. An aspect they can look to take into the 2017 season.

Dempsey will be looking to add to the 2011 champions’ defensive game, while also looking to use his speed, pilfer skills and gain line dominant carries to great effect. The Waratahs are favorite to finish top of the Australian sides and will also be hoping to make the play-off this season after missing out last year.

BC’s Waratahs XV – Kellaway, Naiyaravoro, Folau, Irae Simone, Robinson, Foley, Phipps, Holloway, Hooper (c), Dempsey, Mumm, Skelton, Kepu, Latu and Ryan.

2017 NSW Waratahs 36-man squad

Props
Sekope Kepu
Sam Needs
Tom Robertson
Paddy Ryan
Matt Sandell
Angus Ta’avao

 

Hookers
Damien Fitzpatrick Tolu Latu
Hugh Roach
Locks
Ned Hanigan
Ryan McCauley Dean Mumm
Will Skelton
Senio Toleafoa

Ned Hanigan

Backrow
Jack Dempsey

Jed Holloway
Michael Hooper
Michael Wells
Brad Wilkin

 

Scrumhalves
Jake Gordon
Matt Lucas
Nick Phipps
Fly-halves
Andrew Deegan

Bernard Foley
Bryce Hegarty
Mack Mason

 

Centres
Israel Folau
Irae Simone

Rob Horne
David Horwitz

 

Back three
Cameron Clark
Harry Jones
Taqele Naiyaravoro
Andrew Kellaway
Reece Robinson

 

 

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