The Waratahs will play three home games at the SCG in 2019 but things will look a little different for anyone who was at the ground for this year’s Super Rugby clash at the historic stadium.
NSW will rotate the field 90 degrees changing the viewpoint from north-south to east-west when they take on the Crusaders, Reds and Rebels.
The 90-degreee shift will give ground members a better sideline view than they had for the Waratahs’ clash with the Reds last year, when many were behind the goal posts.
The new configuration is the same as that employed by the A-League for Saturday’s Sydney derby at the SCG.
NSW Rugby CEO Andrew Hore said the main benefit was a better spectator experience.
“From our perspective it’s the viewing for our sport,” he said
“Our sport is a ground-based sport, so having that slight piece of elevation and viewing is really important, so it helps us with the customer satisfaction and coming to the ground.
“On top of what is already an iconic and wonderful stadium, (this) adds to that.”
Coach Daryl Gibson said it would be interesting to see the effect the change would have when they take to the hallowed turf in 2019.
“It’ll be an interesting one,” he said.
“We’re in that exploratory phase – for fans, a different perspective.
“For players, we’re obviously running in a different direction so I think it’s a bit of a wait and see.”
The trio of SCG games completes the Waratahs schedule for 2019, with three games at the new Western Sydney Stadium, one at Brookvale Oval and one at Newcastle’s McDonald-Jones Stadium completing the set.
Hore said they were open to taking games to more regional venues in the coming years, after announcing their first Super Rugby match in Newcastle this week.
More rural venues require some work to meet SANZAAR and World Rugby benchmarks around issues broadcast and light quality but Hore didn’t rule out the possibility of taking a Super Rugby game to the country.
“I think we would,” he said.
“You’ve got to be cognisant of the fact that it needs to meet SANZAAR guidelines and World Rugby guidelines, that’s a given.
“This year because of the time frames it was harder in some ways because that’s going to take a lot more scope and a lot more work, so we need to be cognisant of that because at the end of the day we needed members and potential members and our playing fraternity to have it bedded down where we’re going to play.
“People were really starting to ask questions, ‘What was happening, what was happening?’
“So to get things bedded down has been important for everybody I think.”
Waratahs’ 2019 home games
All times AEDT.
Saturday February 16
Waratahs vs Hurricanes, 7:45pm, Brookvale Oval
Saturday March 9
Waratahs vs Reds, Saturday March 9, 7:45pm, SCG
Saturday March 23
Waratahs vs Crusaders, 7:45pm, SCG
Friday March 29
Waratahs vs Sunwolves, 7:45pm, Mcdonald Jones Stadium
All times AEST.
Saturday April 20
Waratahs vs Rebels, 7:45pm, SCG
Saturday April 27
Waratahs vs Sharks, 7:45pm, Western Sydney Stadium
Saturday May 25
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Waratahs vs Jaguares, 7:45pm, Western Sydney Stadium
Saturday June 8
Waratahs vs Brumbies, 7:45pm, Western Sydney Stadium