The Waratahs' new signing, veteran Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper, said he will have to "prove himself" in Sydney and is not expecting any favours.
Ashley-Cooper, 27, is back with the Tahs after many years in Canberra. Originally from the NSW Central Coast, Ashley-Cooper represented his home state as a junior before joining the Brumbies in 2005.
Keen to get stuck into things with his new teammates, the 64-Test veteran, Ashley-Cooper, arrived at training last Monday - a week earlier than expected, and is already relishing the new challenge.
"I've had such a warm welcome from everyone here that I feel like I've been here for ages already," the utility back said.
"The atmosphere is full of excitement and enthusiasm. It's invigorating for me and I'm really enjoying having a new challenge."
He capped yet another successful year for the Wallabies in 2011, but the versatile and respected outside back is taking nothing for granted.
Despite his NSW heritage - his uncle Graeme Bond is a former NSW Waratah and Wallaby - he is determined to "prove himself" again.
"I'm the new kid on the block [at the Waratahs] and I've got to prove myself to the team, the organisation and the supporters."
Although the absence of fellow Wallaby Kurtley Beale has created a potential vacancy at fullback, Ashley-Cooper insists the number on his back is not important.
"As long as there is spot for me somewhere in the backs then I'm happy."
The 27-year-old Wallaby on Thursday took part in a game of backyard cricket with fellow teammate Daniel Halangahu, NSW netballer Mo'onia Gerrard and former Australian Olympic boxer Ricky Timperi, to help promote the state-wide program of events planned for next week's Australia day celebrations.
"It's great to be back home in NSW," he said, before revealing how he plans to celebrate his first Australia day back home with his friends and family.
"On the day itself I'll be training with my new teammates. No doubt we'll have a bit of a BBQ [barbecue] after training but that weekend I'll be celebrating with my friends and family back on the beautiful NSW Central Coast."
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