Daryl Gibson's NSW move no surprise

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Daryl Gibson
Fairfax NZ
DARYL GIBSON: "I'm impressed with the environment we're trying to create at the Waratahs."

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Daryl Gibson's decision to join the Waratahs is no surprise.

Last month new Waratahs head coach Michael Cheika had been in New Zealand talking to prospective assistants. Gibson was on that list.

So when Cheika sounded him out, Gibson, who had recently resigned from the Crusaders after four seasons as Todd Blackadder's backline assistant, was happy to listen.

Cheika also spoke to several other potential candidates - Aaron Mauger and Leon MacDonald were among those who signalled they were not available - but liked what he saw in Gibson.

The Press has since learned Mauger is expected to join Tabai Matson in a backline coaching role with the Crusaders next season, while MacDonald is keen to continue assisting Kieran Keane with Tasman.

There were no such hitches with Gibson. He will join the Waratahs next month for preseason training.

Gibson, currently in the United Kingdom assisting Jamie Joseph with the New Zealand Maori team, will hope this new role reinvigorates a career that stagnated with the Crusaders.

Although Blackadder believed he needed to demote Gibson to defence coach because he was not getting the best out of his backline's attacking talent, Cheika has no such misgivings.

Gibson, a former All Blacks and Crusaders midfielder, will be responsible for the team's attacking skills and continuity play.

Another assistant, Alan Gaffney, will be in charge of the attack from set plays, as well as working with the forwards.

Cheika, who has returned to Australia after eight years with French club Stade Francais and Irish club Leinster, will manage the team's defence.

Together they will try to get the Waratahs to rediscover their confidence after finishing 11th on the Super Rugby ladder.

Now Gibson has joined his staff, Cheika may also feel he has a fellow who can liaise with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

A couple of weeks ago Cheika was miffed when he heard Deans suggest some Australian Super Rugby players would need to be rested ahead of next year's British and Irish Lions tour.

This was news to Cheika, who publicly chided Deans.

No such message had been uttered during a meeting a week prior, he said.

Perhaps Gibson, who played under Deans with the Crusaders and Canterbury, can assist by quelling any fiery conversations.

Gibson's decision to head across the Tasman will also annoy the New Zealand Rugby Union, which is sick of developing talent only to see the Aussies plunder it. It is a subject that particularly rankles All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

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For his part, Gibson, said he is committed to the Waratahs being a force next year. He spoke of the requirement for the Waratahs to "reconnect" to their local fans. You can almost hear Hansen, currently in Cardiff, coughing into his beer from here.

- The Press

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