Rebels coach Dave Wessels is expecting a galvanised Waratahs outfit at the SCG on Saturday but says there will be no winners out of the Israel Folau controversy.
Folau requested a code of conduct hearing after Rugby Australia issued him a breach notice on Monday, recommending his contract be terminated.
Wessels said he expected NSW to come out firing in the wake of the drama.
“I think temporarily it might be a galvanising thing for the Waratahs,” he sad.
“I think if I were the coach I’d be trying to think of a way to do that but the reality is they’ve lost an absolutely world-class player there, not just for one or two games, it’s forever and I think that’s sad.”
Wessels said in the long-term not party would be able to count themselves as winners, regardless of the outcome.
“I think for the Waratahs, for me I just feel sad in the situation that’s happened with Israel,” he said.
“I don’t know him personally so I can’t comment on the personal side of things but what I do know is he’s the number one try scorer in the history of Super Rugby, he’s probably one of the best entertainers in the game in the world.
“He’s a hell of a player and for him to be lost to Australian rugby is sad and I just don’t think there’s any winners out of it. I don’t think Israel’s won out of it, I certainly don’t think rugby’s won out of it.”
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he was not surprised by Folau’s decision to request a hearing and that he was competely entitled to do so.
“That’s his right,” he said.
“I certainly support any player that takes up that right and the code of conduct is what it is.”
Gibson was reluctant to entertain the possibility of Folau returning to the Waratahs fold down the track, if he is successful in that hearing.
“It does get tricky,” he said.
“We’re dealing in hypotheticals here. He may, he may not. I’d rather just focus on the team that I’ve got in front of me.”
The Waratahs host the Rebels at the SCG Saturday April 20, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.
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