The sooner, the better for ARU decision

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

While his team isn't under threat, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson would welcome a swift decision on Australia's Super Rugby future.

The ARU board is set to meet on Sunday afternoon to vote definitively on whether to agree to a 15-team Super Rugby model and which team they cut in that instance.

SANZAAR confirmed on Saturday night that an announcement about the 2018 Super Rugby format would be made on Sunday night at 6pm, though not necessarily which teams would fill the number of spots in that format.

While the Waratahs are out of the spotlight when it comes to losing a licence, a moratorium preventing any contract negotiations with non-Wallabies players is not ideal.

“I think for everyone in the whole competition it'd be good to have that certainty,” Gibson said.

“I can only imagine what it's like for those teams potentially have an uncertain future, must be difficult circumstance to operate and coach under.

“The sooner a decision is made, the better.” - Daryl Gibson

With Rob Horne and Will Skelton already signalling their departures at the end of the season, the Waratahs have holes to fill, and Gibson said their hands were tied until a call was made.

“At the moment there's obviously a moratorium on contracting so we've respected that, until we can find out a decision either way,” he said.

On the field, the Waratahs have a 2-5 hole to climb out of and Gibson is confident they’re still in the mix for finals, in reach of the top spot in the Australian conference, heading into their bye.

”We’ve got a neat block of three games coming up , followed by a bye and then another three into another break, so it's a little mini-season for us,” he said. 

“It's an opportunity for us to refocus and really look at how we firstly win against the Kings and then start to rebuild that, give our team a real focus point for those three games.

“We’ve got to always put that (finals chances) in the context of our conference and our conference is still very much alive and very much open.

Daryl Gibson has a bit of work to do in the bye. Photo: Getty ImagesSlow starts have plagued the Waratahs this season and Gibson said they simply had to change that.

“That's three games in a row now where we've really been our own worst enemy,” he said.

“We're going to have to look at what sort of state we're starting games in, whether we're really ready and then how we approach that start.

“Giving a team like the Hurricanes a 21-point lead, it's going to be tough to come back from.

“It's there (the ability to start well), it's well within us, it's extracting that, making sure that we're doing everything we can to make sure we don't put ourselves in that hole.”

Star back Israel Folau stayed in New Zealand, where fiancee Maria Tutaia lives, while his teammates returned to Australia, after two days of serious illness.

Folau was nearly shifted to the bench after battling influenza in the lead-up to the game, with no replacements in New Zealand to cover him.

“It was a good effort for him to front up and play for us,” Gibson said.

“Obviously we would've been a man down because we didn't bring anyone extra so we would have probably put him on the bench.”