VIDEO: Gypsy's new role at Tahs
Rugby nomad Robbie Abel wants to be a calming voice to the youngsters at Super Rugby’s Waratahs, the latest destination on his sporting journey.
The 30-year-old hooker has been attached to three other Super Rugby franchises in Western Force, the Brumbies and last year with Melbourne Rebels
He’s also plied his rugby trade in New Zealand for Northland and most recently Auckland – winning a premiership in 2018 while he also represented the Maori All Blacks that same year.
“I’ve been to a few teams so I’ve kind of become a bit of a gypsy football player,” Abel said.
“I’m always open to opportunities and exploring new things.
“Being in this environment kind of suits me as well, to be able to bring something new to the team.
“I’ve learnt a lot along the way from different teams and franchises and I love to stay very open-minded so I look to continue to learn and grow.”
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Abel, who will be vying with Waratahs stalwart Damien Fitzpatrick for the starting hooker role, also shapes as a mentor for the team’s young emerging forwards.
“It is a young pack but for me, that’s the exciting thing about it,” Abel said.
“Being a little bit older, these young kids definitely give me a fair bit of energy… I look to bring the things that I’ve learnt along the way, giving a calming voice to some of those young boys, who are really good players and are going to be stars of the future.”
Adjusting to the demands of the Waratahs’ Kiwi coach Rob Penney shouldn’t be an issue for Abel, given his familiarity with rugby in New Zealand.
‘”The mindset there is great, the positive way they approach their rugby,” he said.
“I’ve found that Rob brings that same enthusiasm that same positivity to the way we approach our stuff here.”
Abel is set to have his first run for the Waratahs on Friday in a pre-season trial against New Zealand’s Highlanders in Sydney.
There should be some family banter in the lead-up to the Tahs games with the Brumbies, with Abel’s father Tony the operations manager at the Canberra-based franchise.