Waratahs sign in-demand schoolboy talent Jorgensen

NSW Waratahs have struck a rare blow in the battle for teenage talent with rugby league, securing in-demand schoolboy star Max Jorgensen on a two-year deal from next season.

The son of former Wallaby and NRL player, Peter Jorgensen, was the subject of huge interest from both codes having existing links to both rugby and rugby league.

But having been a part of the Waratahs development pathways in recent years and this year starring in St Joseph's College undefeated First XV GPS premiership-winning team, the teenager has committed his immediate future to rugby.

"I'm proud to be on board with the Waratahs, they have a terrific setup, and the new Centre of Excellence looks amazing," Jorgensen said.

"I am excited by the opportunities in rugby over the next few years and looking forward to playing high-quality rugby with some amazing players at the Waratahs.

"I'm focused on having a great pre-season and can't wait to learn from the coaching staff and experienced teammates."

Jorgensen, who is completing his Year 12 studies, is likely to have to bide his time before he progresses to Super Rugby level, but the franchise's willingness to sign a player straight out of school is a welcomed change in policy after mistakes of the past.

The Waratahs and Rugby Australia have both previously been unwilling to sign teenagers while at, or straight out of, school, with Sydney Roosters star Angus Crichton just one of a number of players the code has missed out on.

But administrators have seemingly got their act together with Jorgensen, although Waratahs coach Darren Coleman will take a softly-softly approach with the youngster to ensure he is not thrown into Super Rugby before he is ready.

"Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after," Coleman said.

"It's great he has decided to remain at the Waratahs especially after spending the past three years in our academy.

"Max understands he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before he can become a fully-fledged Super Rugby player, but we look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game."

In a sign of how highly thought of Jorgensen is within rugby circles, the Sydneysider spent time with Nathan Grey's Junior Wallabies squad while they were preparing for the Oceania Rugby Championship.

And he will this weekend play for a Waratahs development team due to face a Brumbies XV in Canberra.

The Waratahs have rising wingers Mark Nawaqanitawase and Dylan Pietsch on their books, while veteran Wallabies star Kurtley Beale will also strengthen the outside back contingent in 2023.

But Jorgensen is undoubtedly a player to watch in the coming years as Coleman looks to take the Waratahs forward after an improved quarterfinal finish in 2022.