The NSW Waratahs can announce that Harry Johnson-Holmes and Lachlan Swinton have both penned a contract extension that will keep them in sky blue until the end of the 2022 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Already contracted until 2020, Johnson-Holmes’ contract has been upgraded and extended off the back of a strong 2019 Super Rugby campaign.
The Newcastle product has made 33 appearances for the NSW Waratahs, establishing himself as a player of the future with a meteoric rise from Australian Schoolboys to starting in the state squad.
Johnson-Holmes followed the NSW Country pathway on his journey to the NSW Waratahs, with time spent in the U20s, the NSW Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) as well as a trip to the 2017 Junior World Championships in Georgia.
The Dave Dennis (Elite Youth Development) Player of the Year winner in 2017, Johnson-Holmes has also tasted success in club rugby helping Sydney University secure the Shute Shield in consecutive seasons (2018 and 2019).
He has since gone onto make his international debut at senior level, becoming Wallaby number 927 in the 2019 Rugby Championship – debuting off the bench against the Springboks in Johannesburg.
NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that Johnson-Holmes had quickly become an important member of his side’s forward pack.
“Harry has really impressed since joining the squad in 2018,” Rapp said.
“He arrived as a young player with plenty of promise after performing well in junior representative teams, and he’s worked extremely hard to entrench himself into the match day squad over the last two years.
“While only early in his career, Harry has shown he can compete with some of the best in [Vodafone] Super Rugby and he’ll be an important player for us next season.”
Johnson-Holmes was happy to have his future secured.
“I’ve been working through the pathways at NSW Rugby for a while now, stretching back to my junior days at the Wanderers in Newcastle,” Holmes said.
“To represent my home state in [Vodafone] Super Rugby has been such a privilege, working alongside some great people has been huge for my development as a player.
“I’m learning every day, it’s a great environment here at the Waratahs and to be here for another two seasons is something I’m really excited about.”
Johnson-Holmes will continue to feature in the NRC for the NSW Country Eagles.
The NSW Waratahs also moved quickly to lock in rising star Lachlan Swinton, upgrading and extending the loose forward’s contract to see him remain a Waratah until the end of the 2022 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Contracted until the end of the 2020 Super Rugby season, NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp wasted no time securing Swinton’s signature for a further two years.
“Lachy has been really impressive in his debut season at Super Rugby level, he’s a player with a bright future ahead of him,” Rapp said.
“We’ve seen him develop right through our pathways in New South Wales and Lachy has shown he has the skills, drive and work ethic to succeed at the top level.
“He’s tough, he’s physical and he’s an excellent defender. The type of character who won’t take a backwards step in any situation, Lachy will be an important player for us in the coming years.
“This [contract extension] secures Lachy’s future here in New South Wales and I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits that another pre-season and increased game time will have on his development.”
Swinton joined the NSW Waratahs Super Rugby squad in 2018 after standout performances in the Gen Blue U20s program between 2015 and 2017.
The damaging forward also spent time with the Australian U20s set up, taking part in the 2017 Junior World Championship in Georgia.
The 2019 Super Rugby season saw Swinton earn 13 caps, whilst turning in some eye-catching performances.
It was a season that saw him take home the Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Award, a gong previously won by the likes of Bernard Foley, Will Skelton and Damien Fitzpatrick.
More recently he’s been an integral part of Sydney University’s 2019 campaign, helping the Students finish atop the Shute Shield ladder at the end of the regular season, and take out a second consecutive premiership.
Swinton said he’s excited to build on his tally of Super Rugby appearances in the seasons to come.
“To play Super Rugby for the Waratahs has always being a dream of mine, to play in front of family and friends at Brookvale [Round 1] was even more special and that experience fuelled me to play as hard as I could this season ,” Swinton said.
“To represent our state at the top level is something I don't take lightly, every time I'm fortunate enough to pull on the Waratahs jersey I take great pride in representing the kids and people playing rugby right across New South Wales.
“I couldn’t ask for a better squad at the Waratahs, we have strong connections on and off the field which creates an enjoyable work environment.”
After a strong start to the National Rugby Championship for Sydney, Swinton will sit out the remainder of the competition as he prepares for the Super Rugby pre-season.