It is a dream come true for Orange City Lions junior Jack Grant who this week was signed by the NSW Waratahs for the 2021 Super Rugby season.
Grant - who had been with NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan's top League pre-COVID - joins the Waratahs on a two-year deal.
The diminutive scrumhalf has been a consistent performer for Eastern Suburbs in the Shute Shield across several seasons, being awarded the competition's top try-scorer in 2019. Grant said his progression to the Waratahs was a special achievement and he looks forward to getting to work.
"It's something I've worked hard at for a long time with so much support from family and friends," Grant said.
"It was a great to get an opportunity in Japan, but to now be back and have the chance to represent my home state is something I'm really excited about.
"I'm already familiar with the training environment, the coaches and a lot of the squad - it's a great place to hone my skills and improve as a footballer."
It's something I've worked hard at for a long time with so much support from family and friends.Jack Grant
A product of Orange, Grant was a member of the NSW Country Eagles in 2019, having previously represented the Sydney Rays in the National Rugby Championship (NRC).
NSWRU general manager of rugby, Tim Rapp said that Grant had earnt his opportunity through consistent performances at club level.
"Jack's a player we've had an awareness of for some time, he's been one of the Shute Shield's best for a few seasons now," Rapp said.
"He's come in and trained with the Waratahs in previous pre-seasons and been around our system through the NRC.
"It's a credit to the quality of the Shute Shield that we can bring a player like Jack in with every confidence he can compete at the highest level."
Grant is the son of former Wallaby James Grant and this marks his first contract with the Super Rugby club.
NSW Waratahs head coach, Rob Penney welcomed Grant's addition to the squad.
"Jack's a player who we've seen perform really well at club and representative level and he deserves the chance to be part of our squad," Penney said.
"He's a leader over at Easts and brings the sort of characteristics we're after and will be training alongside several guys he knows very well.
"I'm a huge believer in rewarding players who've done the job at club level and Jack's been exceptional in the Shute Shield this season."
Grant will continue to be associated with Eastern Suburbs in the Shute Shield.
The Waratahs will kick off their season on February 19 with a match against the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium.
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