Record-breaking Sydney University Football Club winger Peter Playford has signed to play for the NSW Waratahs for the 2009 Super 14 season.
Playford, who made his NSW debut nine years ago, has since played provincial football in New Zealand and spent the past two seasons with the ACT Brumbies in the Super 14 competition.
He holds the Sydney club rugby union record for most tries in a season, set in 2005 when he scored 29 on Sydney University’s way to the Shute Shield grand final and the Tooheys New Cup premiership.
With Ben Batger likely to miss the entire season following a shoulder reconstruction and new recruit Ratu Nasiganiyavi out for two months with a stress fracture in his foot, Playford’ has been signed to add depth to the NSW outside backs.
“With the injuries we’ve suffered out wide, we were on the lookout to see if we could find someone to provide some more depth, and we believe we’ve found that with Peter,” NSW head coach Chris Hickey said.
“Peter’s had two seasons of Super Rugby with the Brumbies and last year, in particular, he showed his ability to play well at this level.”
Playford represented Australian Schools out of St Joseph’s College before making his state debut for the Waratahs against Argentina in 2000. After being selected for Australian Under-21s in 2001, he spent a season of rugby league with the Sydney Roosters in 2002 before returning to Sydney University to continue his rugby career.
After his try-scoring feats in 2005, he earned selection on the Waratahs Development Tour of Europe and the Middle East.
The following year he scored six tries in eight matches for the Tasman Makos in New Zealand’s NPC, after which he signed a Super 14 contract with the Brumbies, where he played eight matches in 2007 and nine in 2008 before injury ended his Super 14 campaign. He returned later in the year to help Sydney University to a fourth straight premiership.
“This is a great opportunity I’ve been given and I’m really looking to repay Chris by making an impact right from the word go,” Playford said. “I knew I had more to offer at this level in Australia but there just didn’t seem to be a place for me. trained with the guys last week when the Wallabies returned and it’s a really strong group, a really great bunch of guys.”
Playford will join Sydney University team-mates Will Caldwell, Tom Carter, David Dennis, Daniel Halangahu, Dean Mumm, Jeremy Tilse, Mitch Inman and captain Phil Waugh on the NSW roster for 2009.