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HSBC Waratahs sign Test centre Ryan Cross
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By Waratahs Rugby Media Unit
The HSBC Waratahs are a step closer to completing their 2011 Super Rugby roster after securing the signature of international centre Ryan Cross.
The 18-cap Wallaby has signed with the HSBC Waratahs and Australian Rugby Union for one year and is returning to Sydney where his Rugby and professional football careers started.
Head coach Chris Hickey said the acquisition of Cross would add further depth to a backline which took big steps forward in 2010.
“Ryan’s a proven performer in both the Super Rugby and Test arenas, he has a lot of talent and will be a great asset to the team,” said Hickey. “Through the representative programs he’s very familiar with a lot of the players already in the squad so we know he’ll fit right in with what is already a very cohesive unit.
“The expanded competition in 2011 will mean it’s more important than ever to have quality depth throughout the squad and a player of Ryan’s calibre certainly provides that.”
Hickey said that Cross would arrive at NSW well aware that he will need to fight hard for a position in a backline which in 2010 delivered the Waratahs its best attacking season in Super Rugby.
“He’s fully aware that the backline we had this year was a big reason we qualified for the semi-finals and he will have to fight hard to earn a place in it,” said Hickey. “Like all good players, he’s ready to meet that challenge head on.
“Whenever you have competition for places in the 22 it drives all the players on to a higher level of performance and we’re confident Ryan will bring to that to the squad.”
Cross said that while he enjoyed his time in Perth he was looking forward to bringing his family back to Sydney with his sights set on helping the Waratahs to a successful season in the first year of the expanded competition.
“I grew up in the area and with the Roosters I’ve played a lot of games here at the SFS which is one of my favourite grounds,” said Cross. “I’m a lot closer now to a lot of friends and family which was definitely a factor in coming back.
“I’m really excited, I had a few really good years at the Force but the Waratahs are a good side and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
Cross added that while he missed out on the Wallaby squad for the June Tests, he still has his sights firmly set on Test honours with a view forward to Rugby World Cup 2011.
“I was pretty happy with the back end of my season this year, the body’s feeling pretty good so I think I’ve still got it in me to play at that level,” said Cross. “I’m disappointed not to be a part of the squad at the moment, but hopefully I can play some good Rugby and get another chance at the end of this year.
“If not, then hopefully I can have a good strong season for the Waratahs and put myself in a position to a part of the World Cup.”
Cross was a schoolboy Rugby star at Waverley College and played alongside the likes of Phil Waugh, George Smith, Matt Dunning, Adam Freier and David Lyons in the Australian Schoolboys sides of 1996 and 1997.
In 1998 Cross joined the Sydney Roosters NRL club and scored two tries on debut against Manly. He went on to score 85 tries in 143 matches over nine seasons with the club, and topped the club’s tryscoring list in 2003. In 2004 and 2005 Cross represented City Origin, and when he finished up at the Roosters in 2006 he was the club’s fifth-highest tryscorer of all time.
In 2007 Cross returned to Rugby with the Western Force and represented Australia ‘A’ that season. The following season Cross was named the Western Force Player of the Year and was rewarded with his first Wallaby jersey against France in Sydney. He has gone on to be capped 18 times at Test level and appeared 49 times for the Force in Super Rugby. This season Cross scored four tries in twelve matches to be the team’s top tryscorer for the year.
Physical: 191cm, 100kg
Born: 6.10.79, Sydney
School: Waverley College
Club: Eastern Suburbs
State Caps: 49 [Western Force 49]
State Points: 75 [Western Force 75 (15t)]
State Debut: 2007 v Highlanders [Western Force]
Super Rugby Caps: 49 [Western Force 49]
Super Rugby Points: 75 [Western Force 75 (15t)]
Super Rugby Debut: 2007 v Highlanders [Western Force]
Test Caps: 18
Test Points: 25 [5t]
Test Debut: 2008 v France
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