Max Jorgensen knocks back Sydney Roosters to stay with Waratahs

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Waratahs coach Darren Coleman joked that teenage flyer Max Jorgensen “broke the internet” when news he’d knocked back NRL offers to stay in rugby went live, having fought through some “dark holes” to make a massive commitment to the team and the sport.

Jorgensen’s signature was being sought by the Sydney Roosters, where he has a close relationship with premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson, before the 19-year-old signed a two-year deal with Rugby Australia.

He said wearing a Wallabies jersey remained his primary motivation for the immediate future, having been selected for last year’s World Cup in France by former coach Eddie Jones before a broken leg at training denied him the chance to play.

“I want to put on that gold jersey for the first time,” Jorgensen said on Thursday.

“To not put it on there, it was really devastating. Injuries happen, it is what it is, but that’s what I aspire to do … put on that gold jersey.”

Jorgensen’s signature comes after Waratahs teammate and Wallabies winger Mark Nawaqanitawase signed a two-year deal with the Roosters from next year and with offers of more than $1m on the table.

It puts Jorgensen in the frame to be part of new coach Joe Schmidt’s Wallabies rebuild but more immediately gives the 10th placed Waratahs a timely boost of confidence as they prepare for a must-win Friday night clash with the Rebels.

“A good cheer came up. Maxi broke the internet last night when it was all announced,” Coleman said.

“Everyone’s just stoked he’s going to be around.”

The Tahs coach also laid out that the resilience shown by Jorgensen to overcome significant injuries showed, just as much as his undeniable ability, what he’s worth to rugby.

“Athletically, he’ll continue to grow as a great athlete and he’s got to keep working on his game knowledge, “ he said.

“And I guess he’s shown what’s pleased me the most is his ability to push through adversity. He had a pretty wretched run from last year with the knee, shoulder, ankle. It hasn’t been clean sailing. Everyone’s talking about him being the wonder boy and what a paved way he’s had to where he is.

“He’s been in some dark holes in the last eight to 12 months and he’s shown a great amount of resilience, dedication, a high pain threshold to push through and get back on the field.”

Coleman is equally buoyed knowing his job is on the line this season having registered just the single win from five games in the Super Rugby Pacific competition.

He said he was “not feeling the stress” of the win-loss record, yet ahead of Friday night’s crunch clash.

“It’s a must-win because you want to get some reward for your toil. It’s not must win on the ladder as far as making the eight,” he said.

“We were in the exact same position last year. We got a run of four wins in a row, so we’re not feeling the stress of that aspect.

“That’s the thing about Super Rugby – there’s no gimmes. Every week, if you’re not on, you don’t win.

“We’ve had some OK performances the last few weeks and haven’t been able to pull off the victory.”

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