Jed's Hungry Return To The Field
By Jessica Reading
Southern Districts own Jed Holloway is set to make his return to the sky blue’s starting XV this weekend against the Cell C Sharks in Durban.
The backrower was sidelined for most of the 2017 season as he battled on and off with injury. The last time we saw Jed play a full 80 was during last year’s NRC as he captained The Greater Sydney Rams.
In Jed’s absence last year, Michael Wells stepped into the number 8 jersey, proving he deserves a spot in the starting squad with consistent performances week in and week out. But Wells will return to his preferred number 6 this weekend, with Waratahs recruit Rob Simmons ruled out. This means after a few shifts around the board, Jed has been given a lifeline as he reclaims his number 8 title hoping to re-establish himself as a future Wallaby.
‘It means a lot to be back in the starting line-up. Obviously I’m super disappointed for Rob, but it has given me an opportunity to really show what I can offer. To be able to run out at Kings Park with that no.8 on my back will be super special for me’.
Yamba boy Jed had a fiery start in 2016 when he became the first player to notch up a hat-trick off the bench, deservingly rewarded NSW Waratahs Forward of the Year. Asked whether the mental preparation was different in the starting XV, to coming off the bench to make an impact, the 25-year-old said,
‘I prepare the same, but it’s more about managing how you use your emotional energy coming off the bench. If you get too mentally involved when you’re sitting on the pine, you seem to have no energy once you’re out there’.
The Waratahs fought for the win last weekend against the Stormers and are looking to bounce back after the season that was. But Jed has laid down the law and believes the cornerstone of Waratahs success is that the boys stay grounded and work hard on each week.
‘We aren’t looking ahead, we are purely focused on the challenge that we face this week. After our performances last year, we lost the right to look ahead and make predictions. So, this year we are staying as present as possible and looking to improve as a squad each day’.
Jed also made a number of appearances for club team Southern Districts and was a driving force in their 2017 campaign. Although the Shute Shield team finished second on the ladder, they were knocked out in the finals by 2016 Grand Final Winners Northern Suburbs. Jed remains very involved with his club team, where he flourished as a leader and made his mark on rugby union. He’s regularly down at Forshaw watching the boys train from the sidelines.
‘The boys down at Souths look good! Jamie Verran and Chris Nay definitely look like they have been in a good paddock. After the retirement of the great man and S & C coach Carl McDonald, the club has done a great job in bringing in Klinton Hoare, I really like the work he is doing. So hopefully Jamie and Chris will lose that Christmas dang in no time!’
Eighthman Jed admits the road to recovery hasn’t been easy with a gruelling rehab and pre-season regime. He played 40 minutes in the final trial match against the Rebels and pinched 10 minutes off the bench in last week’s game. If Jed’s appearance last week is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see what else the explosive force has up his sleeve in a starting position!
Jed and the NSW Waratahs face the South African Sharks at 12:05am (AEDT) on Sunday morning, live on Fox Sports.