NSW Waratahs find new home in the suburbs

Dec 7, 2017 - 5:38 AM NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has challenged his charges to make a fresh start after farewelling a horror 2017 and welcoming the Super Rugby franchise's bold move into suburban Sydney.

After almost 20 years at the Sydney Football Stadium, the Waratahs now call the David Phillips Sports Complex home in humble Daceyville.

Gone are the state-of-the-art facilities, including gym, pool, tennis and squash courts as well as their high-profile neighbours and Moore Park cafe dining partners, the Sydney Roosters, Sydney Swans and Sydney FC.

Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore said fans and believers needed to "look beyond the demountables" and envisage the franchise leaving other codes "in their wake".

"Part of moving down here is a new beginning and we're on that journey of trying to transform ourselves into a champion team," Gibson said.

Like Moore Park, Gibson wants to leave behind season 2017 - when his side finished third-last and won only four games - and says it's "absolutely" realistic to aim for the title next year.

Under Ewen McKenzie, the Waratahs rebounded from a second-last finish in 2007 to make the 2008 final.

"We know it's been done before," Gibson said.

"We can go through a whole statistical list of team's who have done poorly who have bounced back and it's certainly what we want to be."

One of the attractions of moving base was being able to train any time they liked, with the Waratahs no longer having to fight for ground space with the Roosters and Swans.

"To get facilities that we're getting, we've really landed on our feet so we're delighted to be here," Gibson said.

While the side has already trained at their new venue, which is also home to UNSW in Sydney suburban club rugby, the Waratahs officially "move in" permanently on January 3.

That's also when the team's eight Wallabies return from the spring tour - skipper Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Ned Hanigan, Sekope Kepu, Tom Robertson and new signing Rob Simmons from the Queensland Reds.

Gibson is especially keen to have Beale back from his year-long stint in the English Premiership with Wasps.

"We're looking forward to having Kurtley back in our colours and the influence he can have in the game. No doubt about that," he said.

"I'm really excited he's going to come back rejuvenated. He's really grown as a player since his time in the UK.

"He's had an excellent series with the Wallabies, a standout, and we want that form to continue and his best to be shown in our colours."

Source: AAP

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