The Waratahs players will wear their initials, and not numbers, on the backs of their jerseys during the Super 14.
IRB regulations stipulate jerseys can have a name or number on the back, enabling the innovation to go ahead, a Waratahs spokesman said..
“I think it’s a great move,” said wing-centre Lote Tuqiri who modelled his initials ‘LT’ at Aussie Stadium. “The blue jersey already means a lot to me but now it’s really personal. The numbers aren’t significant, especially with our roving game plan, so I think it’s an initiative that makes sense rugby-wise too.”
Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie said the idea was hatched late last year as the coaching staff pursued a more flexible playing style.
“We felt there was too much fixation, internally and externally, on the numbers the players had on their backs,” McKenzie said. “The players shouldn’t be inhibited by their run-on number. The Waratahs aren’t about who plays 10 or who plays 13 because those positions are only temporary on the playing field.
“Sure we’ll name a traditional one to 22 and have numerals on our shorts but that doesn’t define the Waratah game.
“Psychologically it’s already working wonders; the players are fully supportive of it and can’t wait to get their jerseys.”
Maenwhile, the Waratahs have named a squad of 26 players for the inaugural Rotomahana Challenge with Dan Vickerman set for a comeback from injury. Phil Waugh also makes his first appearance in 2006.
Waratahs: Peter Hewat, Wendell Sailor, Morgan Turinui, Shaun Berne, Lote Tuqiri, Sam Norton-Knight, Chris Whitaker (c), Stephen Hoiles, Phil Waugh, Rocky Elsom, Daniel Vickerman, Will Caldwell, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning.
Subs: Al Manning, Benn Robinson, Troy Takiari, Alex Kanaar, Wycliff Palu, Leroy Houston, David Lyons, Brett Sheehan, Tim Donnelly, Ben Jacobs, Daniel Halangahu.