Former Sunwolves star Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco has signed a two-year deal with the Waratahs as he aims to stake a claim in Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad.
Warren-Vosayaco, currently plying his trade in Japan’s Top League, has spent the past five years Japan after signing on NTT Communications Shining Arcs in 2016.
Now with Munakata Sanix Blues, the 25-year-old has set his sights on international honours by signing on with the Waratahs through until 2023.
Originally from New South Wales, Warren-Vosayaco already has Super Rugby experience after having played for the now-defunct Sunwolves between 2017 and 2019.
Standing at 1.88m and 103kg, the loose forward flourished for the Sunwolves under the tutelage of current Highlanders head coach Tony Brown, who played Warren-Vosayaco in the midfield during his final season with the franchise.
Renowned for his power-based game, Warren-Vosayaco notched up six tries in 24 appearances for the Tokyo-based side before shifting his full focus to the Top League last year.
However, once the current Top League season comes to an end, Warren-Vosayaco’s attention will then turn to chasing a Wallabies jersey, something he said he has been talking to Rugby Australia’s director of rugby Scott Johnson about for some time.
“I’ve loved my time in Japan, it’s an amazing country with a beautiful culture and incredible scenery. Prior to the World Cup in Japan I had conversations with Scott Johnson about potentially coming home to Australia,” Warren-Vosayaco said.
“Seeing my childhood mate Brandon Paenga-Amosa doing well at the Reds and representing the Wallabies gave me the fire to come back and have a crack at Super Rugby.
“Growing up in Sydney and being part of the Manu Sutherland Academy at New South Wales when I was 15 and 16, the Waratahs was always a team I wanted to play for.
“I’m really excited to come back home and wear the sky blue jersey, and hopefully if I can perform well enough get the chance to play for the Wallabies one day.”
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Waratahs chief executive Paul Doorn said the acquisition of Warren-Vosayaco is a key part of the franchise’s recruitment strategy as it looks to overcome an immense loss of experience in recent seasons.
Since the last World Cup alone, the Waratahs have lost a raft of Wallabies including Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Karmichael Hunt, Ned Hanigan, Tolu Latu and Tom Robertson.
Club captain Michael Hooper has also left to join Toyota Verblitz on a sabbatical deal this season, but both he and Hanigan will join Warren-Vosayaco in returning from Japan next year to help bolster the franchise’s playing roster.
“We’ve seen what Rahboni is capable of in his previous stint in Super Rugby with the Sunwolves,” Doorn said.
“He’s an exciting, damaging ball runner who gives another point-of-difference within our back row.
“Rahboni is one of our strategic signings for the Waratahs as we look to bolster our squad for our 2022 campaign and beyond”.
The Waratahs, who are searching for a new head coach after sacking Rob Penney last month, currently lie in last place in Super Rugby AU with no wins from six matches and will continue their bid for a breakthrough win against the Western Force on Saturday.
Warren-Vosayaco and Munakata Sanix Blues, meanwhile, enter the first round of the Top League play-offs this weekend when they host the Kintetsu Liners at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday.
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