The Waratahs have completed the signing of Parramatta Eels second-row and former Australian Schools centre Tepai Moeroa on a deal until 2021.
There were reports Moeroa was considering a return to rugby in recent weeks but the announcement from Rugby Australia and NSW confirmed the move.
Moeroa grew up playing as a centre in rugby, going to school at Sydney’s Newington College and making the Australian Schoolboys side, but a deal struck with Parramatta as a teenager meant he began his professional career in rugby league.
The 23-year-old moved into the forwards in league, playing second-row and back-row for Parramatta in 101 games since making his debut in 2014.
“I played rugby union throughout high school at Newington where I worked with Rappy [Tim Rapp – NSWRU General Manager of Rugby], it’s nice to be back and I’m really excited to represent the Waratahs,” Moeroa told Rugby Australia in a statement.
“I feel like this is the right time for me to come back [to rugby] and I’m in a position where I have time to get established in Super Rugby and then challenge myself to achieve more.
“In speaking with Tim [Rapp] and Andrew [Hore] before signing I knew this was going to be a great place for me to reintroduce myself to the game to develop and achieve those goals.
“The Waratahs are home to some fantastic players, I’m looking forward to working with them and getting started in the pre-season.”
Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson said Moeroa’s acquisition was an important one for Australian rugby.
“Tepai has great rugby pedigree and was an outstanding junior player before making a successful switch to Rugby League,” he said.
“We’re really excited to get Tepai back amongst the ranks and look forward to seeing him develop and contribute over the next couple of seasons with the Waratahs.
“We’re making a lot of in-roads in keeping future rugby talent in the game and are always investigating opportunities to bring our players back as well.”