Waratahs to host Reds at SCG in 2018

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs will turn back the clock in 2018 and host fierce rivals Queensland at the SCG.

It will be the first QLD vs NSW rugby clash at the venue since 1983, with the fixture clashing with the A-League's Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory match at Allianz Stadium.

This interstate clash is often about heritage, with the Reds wearing a classic maroon jersey in last year's 29-26 thriller in Brisbane, and it will again be a tribute to the history of both clubs.

The captains in that 1983 game, Queensland's Andrew Slack and NSW's Simon Poidevin, were both at the SCG for the announcement, delighted to see the return of rugby to the ground.

Queensland and NSW had seasons to forget in 2017 and Slack said it was up to them to make this into a Super Rugby blockbuster.

"That's up to the Reds and Waratahs in the week before, improving because clearly know that people like following teams that are going well and both sides will be looking to improve on what happened last year," he said.

"If they have, if at that stage they're close to undefeated, you'd like to think you've got close to the full house."

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said the match would be one circled on the team's calendar, both for the rivalry and the added novelty of playing at a ground steeped in Australian sporting history.

"It's a fantastic event on the calendar, I know certainly the players will be very excited about returning here and playing at such a venue," he said.

"That'll be an easy motivation, particularly playing against such a traditional rival, historically. All the players will be marking that one down on the calendar and really looking forward to the game."

“Both teams have a rich rugby history and to be able to celebrate our heritage as well will add greater significance to the fixture.”

Waratahs backrower Jack Dempsey is eyeing off a possible return in the derby game, as he recovers from a hamstring injury suffered in October's Wallabies vs Barbarians clash and though he hasn't been to the SCG often as a punter, said the history of the ground wasn't lost on the team.

"We've talked about just the stadium by itself, it's an awesome event to look forward to but the fact you add on the Queensland game, the rivalry and all that, it just takes it to a whole other level," he said.

"I don't know how the circle's going to work, it's going to be a new experience but hopefully we can come out here, training that week, get a bit of a handicap on the QLD boys."

 Reds coach Brad Thorn said the venue would be a 'special' one for his players..

"The SCG has played a big part in Australian sporting history across a number of football codes. It will be a special occasion for our team when they face the Waratahs there in April.

"Considering it has been 35 years since the SCG has hosted a Queensland v NSW derby, next year's match will add an exciting new chapter to the long standing rivalry between our two teams that dates back as far as 1882."

The Waratahs were also looking at the possibility of needing to move their May 5 clash with the Blues, with Sydney FC a contender to host the grand final at Allianz Stadium, but at this stage the franchise said it would remain at Allianz.

NSW opens its Super Rugby season against the Stormers at Allianz Stadium on Saturday February 24, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, while Queensland hosts the Rebels on Friday February 23, kicking off at 6:45pm local, 7:45pm AEDT. Waratahs tickets at waratahs.com.au and Reds at redsrugby.com.au.