Hitting the ground running: Wycliff Palu is back in training with the Waratahs.

Hitting the ground running: Wycliff Palu is back in training with the Waratahs. Photo: Ben Rushton

Wallabies No.8 Wycliff Palu has declared himself fit and ready for a big season with the Waratahs after recovering from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.

The 31-year-old Waratah has not played since the Wallabies lost to the British and Irish Lions in the deciding third Test in July.

"It was very frustrating [sitting out the remainder of the 2013 season due to injury], but the knee is pretty good," Palu said. "I really enjoyed doing pre-season training with the boys and giving me time to work on a few things I needed to work on."

In addition to his troublesome right knee, which also required surgery two years ago, Palu has suffered shoulder and hamstring injuries since 2011 and said that careful management will be the key as he attempts to regain his place in the Wallabies line-up ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

"We've talked about managing my workload, so there'll probably be a few training sessions where I'm pulled out earlier," he said. "But I'm not thinking too far ahead, it would be disrespecting the Waratahs. I'm just going to focus on having a good season with the Tahs and go from there."

The Waratahs had a mixed 2013 Super Rugby season, the first under coach Michael Cheika, finishing ninth, with eight wins and eight losses.

Palu said that with a star-studded back line that includes Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau and Adam Ashley-Cooper, the Waratahs were heading in the right direction under Cheika.

"We really made some strides within the side last year, and I think the boys really know what to expect and can take on board what [Cheika] has brought in," Palu said.

When asked about Thursday morning's shock announcement that Wallabies skipper and ACT Brumbies back-rower Ben Mowen would leave Australian rugby at the end of 2014 to take up a contract in France, Palu paused before claiming it was the first he had heard of the news.

"I'm pretty surprised," he said. "It must have been a pretty big decision to walk away from captaining your country, so it must have been a pretty big offer to make him walk away. If I was captain of Australia, I wouldn't be walking away like that, but it's up to him."