Blazing start for Yamba’s Jed Holloway
RUGBY UNION: As former Yamba Buccaneer Jed Holloway will tell you, Allianz Stadium is a far cry from the cane fields of the Lower Clarence.
But that is where Holloway found himself last week as he ran on in the starting line-up for the NSW Waratahs.
"Wherever I get to play rugby I am pretty stoked," Holloway said. "But I'll be honest playing at Allianz Stadium in front of 25,000 people - it is pretty intense.
"Running out onto the field you want to be as serious as you can, but I just couldn't help myself but smile.
"Thinking back to when I was 16 and running around cane paddocks on Palmers Island I never thought I would get to this level but now, here I am."
While Holloway said he was a long way from his junior days in the Clarence Valley the ranging forward showed sparks of attacking brilliance that made him stand out as a junior Buccaneer.
The Waratahs number eight had two clean line breaks from five carries and racked up an impressive 65 metres with the ball in hand.
"I was sort of looking around for support on the first one and ended up throwing a s*** pass to no one," he said.
"So when I broke free again I tucked it under the wing and put my head down and just tried to push as hard as I could.
"It is unreal to find yourself in space, every player wants to put their head through the line and just put the foot down. It is a great feeling.
"Those two plays really took the nerves away, it showed me that I can compete at this level."
Holloway has been named in the number eight jersey again tonight against the ACT Brumbies relegating Wallabies' Wyclef Palu to the interchange bench.
"Cleffy is someone that I have really looked up to pretty much ever since I have played rugby," Holloway said. "It is an honour to wear the number eight jersey, a lot of great guys have worn it before me.
"I am just trying to go out each week play my hardest and give the respect to that jersey.
"Cleffy has had a huge influence on me as a rugby player and I know he will be coming in hot and ready to take that jersey back so I need to stay on top of my game to stay in the starting line-up."
The Brumbies come into tonight's match on the back of a 52-10 thrashing of New Zealand side the Hurricanes.
"They're a strong side pretty much all-round, it will be a tough game," he said.