Waratahs open to resting players on request

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says he’d be open to resting players if requested to by the Wallabies setup.

Rugby Australia and the Brumbies are in a tug of war over three of their Wallabies stars in Sunday’s match against the Sunwolves, to allow them to start training in the national camp straight away.

The Brumbies are reluctant to sideline the trio of David Pocock, Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio, while Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Wednesday night Test preparation should be the priority for the players.

The Rebels are likely to leave Will Genia out of their side to ensure his fitness for June, but all other teams are set to field their Wallabies players.

Only the Brumbies play on Sunday, with the Rebels, Reds and Waratahs all playing on Saturday and the latter two teams' Test players simply staying on in Brisbane after their match.

In New Zealand, the All Blacks players have a mandated two games off before June, with teams able to choose the games in which they rest, while in England, the RFU has paid compensation to clubs for the ability to take players out of clubs for national camps.

David Pocock was in impressive form for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesGibson said if there was a similarly clear structure in Australia the Waratahs would be willing to rest players if requested.

“I think obviously there are systems that have been developed in other countries and it's something I'm sure we're going to have future discussions about with Rugby Australia, and I think when it's planned and everyone's on board with the plan, it's something that we'd be open to,” he said.

Australia’s Super Rugby coaches opted to start the season later, to fit in Brisbane Tens and trial matches, and Gibson said they released players to the Wallabies for camps in return.

“That was the discussion at the start of the year and the question that was put to the Super coaches around the start of the season,” he said.

“We all opted for the week delay, so we started later, but in return for that we allowed the players to be involved in the Wallaby camps.

“It's a really reasonable proposition that we were happy to go along with and it's something that you look at New Zealand, they've had four camps during that period to our one.

“So, we're very fortunate.”

Gibson said he could see both sides of the argument when it came to clubs resting national players.

Bernard Foley. Photo: Getty Images“I think I certainly empathise with both coaches in the situations they find themselves in,” he said.

“They both want the best for their team and certainly the Brumbies going into a game where they want to field their best team and the Wallabies want the best preparation with their players.

“It's a tough situation. We certainly haven't been asked to rest anyone. We're fortunate we're playing on the Saturday. "

Ten Waratahs were named in the Wallabies June Series on Wednesday night, but there were also a couple of NSW players who were on the fringes of selection.

Gibson said Jake Gordon was probably the most unlucky to miss out, with Cheika opting for Will Genia, Nick Phipps and Joe Powell as his halfbacks.

"I think obviously one is Jake Gordon, he's had the first third of the competition as the leading halfback for us and he played well," he said.

"You've got to look at the selectors, they're poring over the tape and poring over their selections, so I'm sure they'll have their reasons why he missed out."

The Waratahs play the Reds on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.