Bernard Foley, Tolu Latu, Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps and Curtis Rona have all departed the club for opportunities overseas.
“I’ve got a lot of experience and feel I have a lot of good football left in me, so it was natural to want to be able to help out especially after the opportunity the Tahs gave me last year,” Hunt told the Herald. “We’ve been speaking since the last game of the season. It was just a matter of time.”
Hunt has not represented Australia since 2017. However, with new coach Dave Rennie coming on board and a spot at No.12 opening up due to Samu Kerevi’s overseas departure, Hunt could push for national honours if he has a successful season with the Waratahs in 2020.
He admits is wasn’t easy watching the Wallabies at the World Cup, who crumbled in a 40-16 quarter-final defeat against England.
“You want to play at the top level and you want to put yourself under the most pressure to see what you’ve got,” Hunt said. “I’m no different. I want to make it a reality. Day one of pre-season is getting ready for the Super Rugby season.
“Absolutely I would have loved to be there [at the World Cup] and lend my ability, leadership and experience to the team but obviously it wasn’t to be. I watched every game. I was disappointed in how we fared but there is a period now [where] there is a new coach coming in and it’s another opportunity for guys to step up. It’s the same for the Wallabies as it is for the Tahs right now. It’s a pretty important appointment but I think they got the appointments right.”
While incoming Waratahs coach Rob Penney will have the final say, Hunt is eyeing off the No.12 jersey once again in season 2020.
“I’ll be preparing if I’m going to play 12 but the coach will come in and have a say,” Hunt said. “I think my ability suits that jersey.”
The Waratahs had their first day of pre-season on Monday but were without Penney, who will link up with the squad later this week after he flies in from Japan.
The Kiwi coach said in a statement he was pleased to have secured Hunt’s services for another season.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to can’t speak highly enough of Karmichael,” Penney said. “His attitude, professionalism and experience will be extremely valuable this season.
“He’s a supremely talented athlete and from all reports sets the example for our younger guys in the way he goes about his business.”
Hunt said: “To not have him here for the first day is not unusual at all. There was no footy component today. It’d be nice to have your main leader around the club from the start but he’ll come in and everyone will get to meet him.”
Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald