NSW Rugby to build new $20m Centre of Excellence

Super Rugby
by Iain Payten

NSW Rugby boss Andrew Hore has expressed frustration with NSW opposition leader Michael Daley over his recent pledge that a future Labor government would not fund a re-build of Allianz Stadium.

Hore labelled the old Allianz Stadium as “a dump” on a day where NSW Rugby announced plans for a new $20 million Centre of Excellence in Daceyville.

NSW Rugby and the Waratahs moved out of the Moore Park last year and moved to the shared training premises at the University of NSW venue, with demountable facilities.

With a massive $20 million investment from the NSW Government, however, NSW Rugby are set to build a new home that will not only be a Waratahs homebase but be the central “hub” for all community rugby in the state of NSW, including a home to charity partner the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation, and possibly others.

“We have been working towards this goal for a long time and to have this investment confirmed today is a massive boost for what we are looking to achieve,” Hore said in a statement.

“Our goal is to create a home for the whole of the game, from our administrators, charity partners, rugby supporters, members and our NSW representative teams.

While there will be an element of high performance to continue to produce the best male and female rugby talent in Australia at all levels, this facility represents the communities that make up our game.”

The creation of a $20 million headquarters in Sydney’s east prompted some disquiet in western Sydney, however, with social media criticism about the comparative lack of investment in the region.

But Hore said the Daceyville headquarters was just the “first step” in a much bigger plan.

“Fundamentally people have to look past that, because this facility is for everybody in NSW,” Hore said.

“The longer term plan is to have hubs of rugby around the city and the state, this is stage one of a bigger plan for rugby. And what we have to show here is we can show a maturity and a leadership that we can handle that well.

“If we look within this hub, it will help us grow so that we can have hubs out there. And we have already started talking to the Minister about western Sydney. The Positive Rugby Foundation, one of their coterie arms will be to grow investment into western Sydney.

“On top of that, the NSW Rugby element we are already talking to the State Government and the strategy department in and around bringing in cultural populations and people who are new to Australia, and offering them opportunities through rugby to be involved in Australian society.

“Rugby has a whole plan for western Sydney that we are looking to enact, and we have started on that path.”

Construction on the new Daceyville development is expected to get underway at the end of next year.

While the funding for the new HQ is secure, there has been a level of uncertainty thrown up this week about the rebuild of Allianz Stadium; the home venue of the Waratahs.

New opposition leader Michael Daley this week announced he “would not spend a single cent” on the project if elected as Premier in March, despite planning approval for the stadium’s demolition expected this week. It is already fenced off and decommissioned.

The Waratahs have announced a schedule of games at alternate venues across NSW for 2019.

“I am very disappointed that no-one from Mr Daley's office has been in touch,” Hore said.

“The simple fact of the matter is we are playing in stadiums next year, for example Western Sydney stadium will have ten times the amount of spots where people with a disability can watch the game. There will four times the number of women's toilet facilities. If we want to be the sport we say we are, we can't stay at Allianz Stadium.

“It's a dump. It's been a great servant to us but it is time to go.

“We didn't have any consultation with Mr Daley, he hasn't heard our concerns and what he has to be careful of is this effects a lot of employed people ... and that stadium is there to generate revenues to feed the entire game.

“And that's just our sport. If you extrapolate that over all the sports who play there, plus over 100,000 members between the sports that play there, it's a very bold statement.

“And one that I would seriously question whether he can deliver upon. A contract is a contract, and do you really want to be known as a government that breaks a contract?”