Waratahs want to give veterans special farewell

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There’s more than a home final at stake for the Waratahs against the Hurricanes, with a handful of stalwarts set to say farewell to a home crowd.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said the looming departures of Wycliff Palu, Dave Dennis (Exeter) Kurtley Beale (Wasps) and Benn Robinson (retirement).

For Beale and Robinson, who both suffered long-term injuries, the potential final home game will be as a spectator, but Gibson said it was special nonetheless.

“A number of guys  have already indicated they're  not going to be here next year so certainly it's an opportunity for fans to come along and farewell all those players who have been brilliant servants for us over the years, cliff being one of them,” he said.

Palu’s Super Rugby future had been undecided, with a year left to run on his Japanese Top League contract the only certainty, though Gibson said it was unlikely the monstering eight would be back in blue next year.

“I can't' see him being putting his hand up for us again next season,” he said.

“Obviously he's got his Japan deal, Dave Dennis is another one who's already indicated he's going overseas, obviously Kurtley Beale and Benn Robinson have already had their seasons curtailed.

“I think the team's very focused on firstly performance but also farewelling those guys in the right manner.

“They've been servants of  the club for a long period and we want to make sure we play well.”

Benn Robinson was forced into retirement. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Waratahs find themselves in the control room ahead of their Hurricanes clash, after the Brumbies’ loss to the Blues and a win could earn them the conference lead and in line for home qualifying final rights.

Captain Michael Hooper said he hoped they would get another hurrah at Allianz Stadium.

“Some guys playing their last game here - hopefully not, a few things going our way,” he said.

“We’ll treat it tomorrow night as a really special occasion and a  tough event for us against the Hurricanes.”

The tightrope situation they find themselves in is not unfamiliar, in fact it’s almost the norm for the Waratahs now, Gibson said.

“Against the Chiefs, we knew if we didn't win that game, chances would be very slim,” he said.

‘So, we've got ourselves to this stage and there is no next week if we don't win, that's pretty much how we're treating it.

“We’re embracing that tough challenge that we've faced over the last few weeks and being excited about an opportunity to really showcase against an excellent opposition what we can do.”