Mitchell Chapman joins HSBC Waratahs 21/01/2013 By HSBC Waratahs Media Unit The HSBC Waratahs have signed former Australia A flanker Mitchell Chapman for the 2013 season. Sydney-born Chapman joins the squad on a one year contract, replacing hooker Damien Fitzpatrick, who has unfortunately been ruled out for the season with a knee injury. Fitzpatrick’s injury, sustained during the latter stages of rehab from a ACL reconstruction early in 2012 season, is a cruel blow for the promising young hooker, who had been due to return to action next month after a 12-month absence. Said Head Coach Michael Cheika, “Unfortunately Damien suffered a setback in his recovery from the original ACL injury that required further intervention. “Damien will require a specified period of time to ensure that his injury fully recovers. That will rule him out of most of the coming Super Rugby season but we are planning for him to be back in time to take part in the second half of the Shute Shield season.” With three hookers already at his disposal (Tatafu Polota-Nau and John Ulugia in the main squad and Luke Holmes in the Extended Playing Squad), Cheika opted against a like for like replacement, saying, “Mitchell has been brought in to fill a specific profile within our squad. “I felt we needed a lock who will be able to help share the workload of our two internationals, Kane Douglas and Sita Timani, and offer an experienced partner for our two young locks, Ollie Atkins and Greg Peterson, especially around the set piece. “I was convinced of this idea when I spoke to Mitch and saw his enthusiasm for another shot at playing Super Rugby. He seems a quality person and I believe he will fit in to our team environment very well.” The move sees the 29-year-old blindside specialist return to Australian rugby after the completion of his second season with Japan Top League club NTT Docomo. He brings with him extensive Super Rugby experience, having made 28 appearances for the Reds and 40 for the Brumbies. Although still uncapped, he spent five years on the international scene, touring with the Wallabies in 2006 and 2009 and being included among the replacements for the Brisbane Test against Ireland in 2010. Excited about returning to Super Rugby, Chapman said, “I’ve been watching it on TV and the chance to come back and test myself against the best players has been very motivating.” “Specifically with the Waratahs, I know some of the things that Michael Cheika has put in place rugby-wise. Through the grapevine I’ve also heard that it’s a positive place to be. Along with how they are looking to play the game, that was something I wanted to be a part of and the main reason for my decision.” Chapman will join the squad following the completion of NTT Docomo’s season in early February, in time for the HSBC Waratahs’ final Super Rugby trial match at home against the Crusaders on Thursday, February 14. Free entry to the trial match is one of the benefits of an HSBC Waratahs Membership, which also include priority access to The Lions Tour match against the HSBC Waratahs on June 15 (available until Monday January 21), great value match tickets and invitations to exclusive member-only events. Two game adult memberships start at just $38, with eight-game full season family packages available from just $325 (two adults and two children). To become a 2013 member call the membership hotline on 1300 733 899 (9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or buy online at www.waratahs.com.au/membership. Mitchell Chapman Height: 197cm Weight: 110kg Born: 15/03/1983, Sydney Playing career: Although still uncapped, 29-year-old Mitchell Chapman spent five years on the international scene. Having toured with the Wallabies in 2006, he was included in Australia’s shadow squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup and was part of the Spring Tour of 2009. In 2010, he was included in the matchday 22 for the Wallabies’ Test against Ireland in Brisbane. A former Australian Schoolboys skipper, he made his senior representative breakthrough with the Reds rugby academy in 2002 and featured in the Australia Under-21 side in 2003 and 2004. He made his Super Rugby debut for the Queenslanders in 2005, earning 28 Super Rugby caps before moving to the Brumbies in 2008, adding a further 40 tournament appearances. A mobile and skilful player, Chapman offers second row and No. 8 cover if required and has also represented the Barbarians and Australia A. Full profiles on all HSBC Waratahs players, including Mitchell Chapman, are available from the squad section of the Waratahs Rugby website.