Waratahs return home after successful tour
October 31, 2004

The Waratahs have arrived back in Sydney after a successful South American tour that netted 215 points and four victories from four matches.

Tour captain Adam Freier was named Player of the Tour at a team function just before departing Buenos Aires. Judged by the coaching staff and management, the Player of the Tour takes into account on and off field performance.

"It's really the whole package," said head coach Ewen McKenzie. "The player of the tour of course must excel on the pitch but he also needs to contribute in a meaningful way off the field and Adam Freier did it all."

McKenzie said the example shown by Freier and Morgan Turinui showed great maturity. "They turned Wallaby selection disappointment into a positive experience for all of us in Argentina. Both players played important roles in building team spirit quickly and that was certainly reflected in on field results."

The Rookie of the Tour was Sydney University forward Alex Kanaar. "Alex is an example of one of those players who given the chance, will shine at a higher level and he really impressed on tour," added McKenzie.

The best forward was newly signed Waratah Wycliff Palu. "Cliffy's transition back to rugby has been incredibly quick. He physically dominated the opposition and his understanding of the complexities of forward play is far more advanced than anticipated after just a short time back from rugby league."

The final award for Best Back went to Sydney University flyer Winston Mafi.

"Without a doubt a special talent and very impressive person. Winston was one of 13 uncapped players we took away and now all 13 have a Waratah cap to their name for life."

"This tour produced some special memories for me including an impromptu rendition of the Waratah song at the end of the team dinner and that's the sort of spirit and camaraderie that wins football games."

McKenzie said he'd like to finalise the 2005 Waratah squad by the end of the week.

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