Waratahs release external review results

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The results of the highly anticipated external review of the Waratahs are in and if you ask CEO Andrew Hore, there are positives to be drawn on multiple fronts.

Those positives largely focus on the wheels that were already in motion when the internal review was completed prior to the end of a disastrous Super Rugby season, with Hore and his team already placing greater emphasis on leadership outside of skipper Michael Hooper, restructuring the coaching staff and refining the roles and responsibilities of the rugby department.

While the results of the external review conducted by sports administrator were released today and Hore preached the positives when speaking to RUGBY.com.au, he also dealt in truths.

As much as the Waratahs can spruik the positive changes being made, Hore knows it will count for little until season 2018 kicks off.

"I expect the fans to be cynical for a while," Hore said.Israel Folau and the Waratahs came under heavy fire in the back half of 2017. Photo: Getty Images"I can walk around in the emperor's new clothes for as long as a I like but the reality is, I'm nude.

"The fans were disappointed at the lack of results and the perceived lack of desire in the back half of last year and I can understand that.

"It doesn't matter what I say, the reality is we won't change anything until we get on the field next year and prove that things are different."

The number one recommendation in Melton's report highlighted the need to "put the structures in place to support the rugby department across the whole business as well as ensuring the systems within the rugby department have the right people leading the right areas."

That translated to getting the right staff in from top to bottom and Hore believes the restructuring of the coaching staff has done exactly that.Simon Cron will lead the Waratahs' forwards in 2018. Photo: Getty ImagesCoach Daryl Gibson will take on the defence and former Northern Suburbs and Australian U20s coach Simon Cron has been brought on to coach the forwards, two changes Hore hopes will make a big difference in the Tahs' on field performance in 2018.

"The fact of the matter is, I think (Cron) has got a really good pedigree," he said.

"I think the best coaches are guys that were number two in their playing days and had to figure out how to get to number one.

"That's the case with Steve Hansen and Michael Cheika and it's the same with Cronno.

"He has a good rapport with his players but most of all, he is very clear on what he wants his pack to do.

"The word of warning is that he's still a young guy but with Daryl having another year under his belt I feel like we have got a good mix."Hore gave the leadership of Hooper a ringing endorsement. Photo: Getty ImagesThe need to redefine the leadership group and recreate the 'club captain' leadership role was also highlighted but one part of the club which isn't in need of a lift is the work of Hooper.

Hore has experience with two of world rugby's very best leaders in Alun Wyn Jones at Ospreys and Richie McCaw at the Crusaders and he gave Hooper a serious wrap when comparing his leadership to that pair.

"After having wonderful experiences with Alun and Richie, Michael is further down the path of his leadership journey than they were at his age," Hore said.

"I think we have seen that this year and we saw that in the player mic clip that was on Fox Sports as well.

"For us, it's now about getting other guys to take up some of that as well and getting people outside of Michael to take roles in leading on and off the field."