Waratahs flyhalf Bryce Hegarty spent his first three years of Super Rugby playing for the Melbourne Rebels. As his side prepare to host the Rebels in a fierce local derby at Allianz Stadium this Sunday we asked him for some insight into his current, and former, teammates.
Who Is the funniest bloke on each team?
“At the Waratahs, I’d say Fanga (Nick Phipps). I really like his sense of humour and he can always cheer everybody up and lighten the mood. At the Rebels, when I was there it was definitely (Laurie) Weeks. Like Nick, you can always go to him for a laugh and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. It’s probably why he is so popular with his teammates, and it’s probably why Weeksy & Fanga get along so well and are good mates (from their time together at the Rebels between 2011 and 2013).”
Who has the best on-field banter?
“Hugh Roach will say some good stuff sometimes and Rob Horne will have a bit of a crack too. Mitch Inman is the king of it at the Rebels; he loves throwing chat at the opposing teams. He got Francois Steyn with an absolute beauty once which you probably can’t publish!”
Who is the hardest hitter from each team?
“There’s a couple that come to mind at the ‘Tahs; Will Skelton is very big and mobile and you don’t want to get whacked by him, and then Rob Horne is another to stay away from as he has great timing. Jed Holloway is always stepping on people’s feet, just like (former Rebel, now Red) Cadeyrn Neville used to be at training.
“Jordy Reid is naturally very strong, Sean McMahon just loves to whack people and Mitch Inman is a very strong man in defence. Those three would be my pick at the Rebels.”
Which Waratahs player could be the difference this weekend?
“Whether it’s Nick Phipps or Jake Gordon who starts, whoever is the halfback will have a major role to play on Sunday, as will the backrow. Guys like Michael Hooper, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway and Michael Wells; whoever gets picked has a big task against a strong Rebels backrow and even with people out injured they’ve looked really good there.”
Which Waratahs teammates are the most inspirational to play alongside?
“Guys like Michael Hooper, Nick Phipps, Rob Horne; people that have really been the backbone of our Club for a long time and epitomise what true Super Rugby players should be doing performance wise.”
Which Rebels players were the most inspirational to play alongside?
“People like Scott Higginbotham, Scott Fuglistaller, Jordy Reid, Mitch Inman, Laurie Weeks; those types of people who you knew would leave everything out there on the field.”
If selected, how much would you enjoy the chance to play against the Rebels on Sunday?
“I haven’t had the chance to play Super Rugby against the Rebels yet, being out injured all of last year, so if I get the chance to do it I will really enjoy it. I know so many of the guys well; they are very competitive, and playing against your mates is always good. You both want to win the game and play footy, and then you get to catch up with your mates as well.”