With Tatafu Polota-Nau and Tolu Latu suffering injuries in the early rounds of the 2016 season, hooker Hugh Roach was handed a huge opportunity for the Tahs, and it was one that he truly seized upon.
The 24-year-old finished the year having played in all but four of the NSW Waratahs matches, making a name for himself as a reliable option in the Tahs’ front row. And, with the departure of Polota-Nau at the conclusion of the 2016 season, Roach is expected to continue to play a big part in the Tahs’ new energy of players that have and are expected to step up in 2017.
A passionate member of the NSW club rugby scene, Roach made three appearances for the Waratahs prior to 2016, two in 2014 before his starting debut in 2015 when he starred on six occasions.
One of the squads’ many players who were born and raised in NSW, Roach was called up to join the extended playing squad ahead of the 2014 season having developed a reputation for his uncompromising tackles and fearless approach to the game.
A scavenger of note with a high work rate, Roach was part of Eastwood’s back-to-back Shute Shield Premiership winning side in 2014 and 2015.
The son of former Western Suburbs first grade hooker Graham Roach, Hugh began his junior rugby career with Hunters Hill before making the move to Gordon Rugby Club where he was a member of the juniors program. During his years attending Newington College, Roach represented the Australian Schoolboys on 11 occasions between 2009 and 2010 and remains as one of the most capped schools rugby players in Australia.
In 2011 he was selected in the Australian Under 20s squad, making three appearances against Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand. He earned another four Australian Under 20 caps when he was selected to play in the 2012 IRB Junior World Championships against Scotland, Argentina and France twice.
He first joined Eastwood as a senior in 2013 where he quickly made a name for himself in the Shute Shield competition. He was announced as Rookie of the Year during his opening season of the first grade competition, following in the footsteps of previous winners and Waratah teammates Bernard Foley, Jed Holloway and Greg Petersen. His impressive form saw him picked up by the Western Force where he made his provincial debut against the British & Irish Lions in June 2013.
Last updated: 21/12/16