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By Waratahs Rugby Media Unit
Saturday’s grudge match against the Brumbies will hold special meaning for the Sekope Kepu who will mark his 100th NSW Waratahs cap at the inaugural Dan Vickerman Cup.
When he arrived at the NSW Waratahs his goal was to play one game for the side, not dreaming he would ever make it to 100.
“My ultimate dream was to play rugby as a professional sport, full time. I remember coming over and walking through the corridors here and seeing guys I watched growing up like Lote Tuqiri, Phil Waugh, Dan Vickerman, Tatafu (Polota-Nau)… it was a very overwhelming experience.
“You want to look at it as just another game. I came over with a dream to play one cap for NSW but to get 100 is humbling,” said Kepu.
Kepu remembered fondly his NSW Waratahs debut where he played alongside Vickerman, who will be honoured on Saturday night with the introduction through the Dan Vickerman Cup.
“I remember he (Dan) had just laid into the Brumbies boys. We didn’t win the line out that night, but even though we won the game and I got my first cap, he was filthy we didn’t win the line out. But that was the man he was… we fixed that (line out) pretty quickly,” laughed Kepu.
The NSW Waratahs-Brumbies rivalry is one that excites both the players and fans and Kepu admitted there will be a lot on the line for the game.
“It’s a massive game, it’s one of those one’s you really look forward to going up against guys you know at a national level.
“They (Brumbies) bring massive experience, it’s going to be a challenge. We’ve got to be on top of our game, go out and play our game.
“In the first three games we haven’t played to our full potential. We’ve got to lead the way as a front row. In a way it’s something that I’m really looking to,” said Kepu.
The NSW Waratahs welcome back Will Skelton and Jed Holloway to the starting line up with Ned Hanigan also back from injury on the bench.
The decision on whether Bernard Foley will play will be decided on Friday, with Head Coach Daryl Gibson giving Foley every chance to take on the Brumbies.
“For Bernard it’s all about how he pulls up after training today. We will be monitoring how he goes overnight,” said Gibson.
“He’s training well, we just need to see how he is. The ultimate decision will lie with our medical team.”
The NSW Waratahs take on the Brumbies on Saturday 18 March at 7:40pm at Allianz Stadium. www.waratahs.com.au/tickets
Michael Hooper (C)
Bernard Foley (Bryce Hegarty)
Bryce Hegarty (David Horwitz)
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All the results and standings following the weekend's rugby fixtures in NSW schools - stay tuned for updates.