Western Sydney to be Waratahs' second home in 2019

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

The new Western Sydney Stadium could become the Waratahs' second home in 2019 after the franchise announced plans to take three home games to the stadium.

NSW has committed to playing matches against the Sharks (April 27), Jaguares (May 25) and Brumbies (June 8) at the new stadium next season with usual home ground Allianz Stadium being rebuilt.

Venues for the remaining five matches are yet to be finalised but CEO Andrew Hore said they would likely be spread over three or four spots, making the Western Sydney Stadium their most-used home base.

NSW went to members to canvass their priorities in home grounds and Hore said a move to smaller and regional grounds was a key part of that.

North Sydney Oval has often been mentioned as an option for home matches but NSW are also looking beyond Sydney.

"There was a really strong emphasis on having the opportunity to go to smaller grounds, regional and the perception that we've got to do something in the west and around the game," he said.

"We're hopefully going to cater - someone's going to come out and smash us, there will no doubt be another angle someone can take it - but our intentions have actually tried to listen to what they've said and come up with something appropriate."

An official agreement has not been struck for 2020 and 2021 but Hore said that was being discussed.

"Our intention is to have a consistent presence, it's not a one-off," he said.

"What games and how many will vary because that's the advantage we've got right now.."

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said his team would embrace its 'nomad' tag in 2019.

"I think we've got a real opportunity with being nomads and essentially playing around our state," he said.

"One of the few teams that actually represent the state so we have that luxury of going to a number of different stadiums and spreading rugby around the state.

"There's rugby lovers wherever we go and it's a real opportunity that we get to play three games in what is a fantastic stadium and a new experience for both players and fans and we hope that reinvigorates Western Sydney and really brings the people out and back to the game."

 The announcement comes a day after the NRL's Parramatta scoffed at the deal they were offered to play at the stadium, though NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres scoffed at the notion that the Eels would walk away from the stadium.