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Gibson close to locking in new contract

Mon, 30/07/2018, 6:58 am
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
Daryl Gibson is set to ink a new Waratahs deal. Photo: Getty Images

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson will be coaching the side in 2019 and he is confident star fullback Israel Folau will be there too.

Gibson has just finished his third season as Waratahs coach and guided them to their first semi-final since 2015 after they topped the Australian conference.

Though he is yet to officially sign a deal, he said he had agreed to stay at the club and was looking at inking a two-year extension soon.

"(I'm) very close (to finalising that)," he said.

"Obviously I've agreed to stay on, which is a good thing. (I'm) really pleased - I see a lot of potential in our squad and we want to fully maximise what we can do as a team. 

"At the moment we're looking at a two-year deal, which would be good. Still haven't put pen to paper but certainly I'm happy with the direction of where negotiations are going."

The NSW mentor had said previously that he was keen to stay on for one more season and then possibly step away but the Waratahs wanted a longer commitment from him.

It's a big endorsement of the turnaround the team has undergone in 2018 after claiming just four wins in 2017 and finishing 16th overall.

"I think for the club they were after a two-year deal," Gibson said.

"My own personal view was wanting one (year) but I'm happy to stay and start building something special with NSW."

The Waratahs underwent a wide-ranging club review after that dismal 2017 and transformed into the Australian conference winners and a genuine competition threat.

All of the elements of that review have been assessed in Gibson's negotiations with CEO Andrew Hore saying earlier this month that talks were 'positive'.

It's not just Gibson whose contract is set to be finalised soon - his three biggest stars in Israel Folau, Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley are all yet to announce new deals.

Folau has been linked with a move to Queensland in recent months but Gibson said he was confident the superstar was content in Sydney.

"A lot of those negotiations are with Rugby Australia but certainly every indication is that Israel is very happy here," he said.

Foley said he was yet to come to a call on his future but thought a deal would be coming 'soon'.  

"My focus has been on the Waratahs..Now it's over and the focus moves straight to the Bledisloe Cup," he said.

"So, it's all exciting and something like that will definitely be done soon."

The Waratahs officially farewelled four players after last weekend's semi-final loss to the Lions.

Outside backs Taqele Naiyaravoro and Andrew Kellaway are moving to England club Northampton, centre Irae Simone is set to switch to the Brumbies and prop Paddy Ryan is bowing out of Super Rugby.

In the coaching ranks, attack coach Chris Malone is believed to be moving on with reports former Wallabies scrumhalf Chris Whitaker is returning to the fold.

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