McKenzie chuffed with Palu re-sigining


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QR Rampaging Number 8 Wycliff Palu has re-signed with the HSBC Waratahs and Australian Rugby for another two seasons. Palu rejected several offers which would have seen him lost to Australian Rugby, however a two-year extension will see him in Waratahs colours until the end of 2010.

Growing up on Sydney’s northern beaches, Palu made his NSW debut against Samoa in 2003 before crossing to rugby league with the St George-Illawarra Dragons.

It was then that HSBC Waratahs Head Coach Ewen McKenzie saw the need to bring back the 120kg No.8, a decision which has proved a masterstroke.

‘We copped a bit of criticism when we first signed Cliffy but since then he’s not only proved a lot of doubters wrong he’s added a new dimension to our game,’ said McKenzie.

‘We identified a deficiency that we thought Wycliff could fill and we did a deal with the Dragons to get him back. Since then he’s set the benchmark for Australia’s ball playing forwards. I know Robbie Deans was immediately impressed when he first laid eyes on him in a pre-season match against the Crusaders.’

‘It was a special moment for me when he was selected to play for the Wallabies and it’s great news for Australia that he’s re-signed until the end of 2010.’

‘He’s a quiet achiever but a very well liked and respected member of the Waratahs and on the back of Kurtley Beale’s re-signing we’re confident that we’ll keep this squad together for a few more years.’

Palu’s career is still on the rise, following the achievement of significant milestones since returning to Rugby. He made his Super 14 debut in 2005, his Test debut in 2006 and in 2007 developed into the incumbent Wallaby No.8.

And he has already starting 2008 in fantastic fashion, picking up man-of-the-match honours in Saturday’s 20-3 Super 14 victory over the Hurricanes.

Palu says he’s happy with his form in the early part of the season, and is pleased he can concentrate on the Waratahs 2008 campaign.

‘I feel that I’m in the best form of my career and I’ve got a lot more to offer the Waratahs and Wallabies,’ said Palu

‘I’m not just an impact player anymore. I’ve worked hard on my fitness so I can contribute for the full eighty minutes.’

‘Two years is a long time in Rugby and I’m very happy with the deal.’

‘I had offers to leave but in the end staying with Australian Rugby is the best option for me on and off the field.’

‘I owe a special debt of thanks to Ewen (McKenzie) for signing me back in 2004. He had faith in my abilities and without him I wouldn’t be here today.’

‘I think we’re building something special here at the Tahs. I was really proud of the forwards on Saturday against the Canes and I’m sure it’s the start of a big year for the pack.’

ARU High Performance General Manager Pat Howard was also pleased Palu had decided to stay and pursue his career with the Waratahs and Wallabies.

‘The ARU is very happy Wycliff decided to stay in Australian Rugby despite fielding larger offers to play overseas,’ said Howard.

‘His decision to remain here proves the lure of the Wallaby jumper is still a major attraction for our leading players and that’s something we’re delighted about.

‘At this point in his career, we believe it’s a favourable outcome for both Wycliff and for the ARU.

‘He has the chance in the next couple of years to really establish himself as a major name on the world stage.’


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