Gibson urges fans to turn out for 'worthy' Waratahs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says his team deserves the support of the state on their run to the Super Rugby finals.

NSW could finish as high as second on the ladder, guaranteeing hosting rights for a quarter and semi-final this season, but it could be an uphill battle to build their crowds back up ahead of a possible title tilt.

Their last home finals game against the Highlanders in 2015 attracted 32, 632 fans to Allianz Stadium, well above this season's highest turnout, a 15,648 crowd for their SCG clash with the Reds.

Gibson said his side's character this season merited greater fan support, and matches against the Sunwolves and Brumbies would need to lay the foundations for that.

"We need more people to come and enjoy the game and really get behind this team because I think they're worthy of our support," he said.

"They've shown all year that they care in what they're doing and you're seeing that in the performances.

Israel Folau. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We probably had no right to win that game on Friday night but we dug in for each other and came away with an excellent victory, minus a couple of our best players.

"So, it gives our team a lot of belief and really keen for the state to sawing behind them and give them the best shot they can to go forward in the competition."

The Waratahs have made just two changes to their team, with Israel Folau slotting straight into fullback after a one-week suspension, and Bryce Hegarty shifting to the bench, with Irae Simone dropping out of the 23.

Gibson there would be no hesitation in using Folau in the air off kick-offs this weekend, but the lawmakers needed to find a balance between player safety and fair contests.

"I think obviously that's still an area that the game needs to look at in terms of how we interpret the aerial contests we are getting," he said.

"And of course underlying all that is players' safety and we've never shied away from that, (the issue of) guys landing on their heads.

"It's a very difficult area to law and police, so I think it's one where coaches and administrators get together and try to work out a law to work towards those outcomes."

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

TEAM

IN: Israel Folau

OUT: Irae Simone

Waratahs to face Sunwolves.

1. Tom Robertson

2. Damien Fitzpatrick

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Rob Simmons

5. Jed Holloway

6. Ned Hanigan

7. Willl MIller

8. Michael Wells

9. Nick Phipps

10. Bernard Foley

11. Taqele Naiyaravoro

12. Kurtley Beale

13. Curtis Rona

14. Cam Clark 

15. Israel Folau

Reserves:

16. Tolu Latu

17. Harry Johnson-Holmes

18. Paddy Ryan

19. Tom Staniforth

20. Brad Wilkin

21. Jake Gordon

22. Alex Newsome 

23. Bryce Hegarty