JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Sponsor could seal O'Driscoll move to Waratahs

Date

James MacSmith

Waratahs bound? Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll.

Waratahs bound? Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Getty Images

SYDNEY: NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has revealed Brian O'Driscoll's touted move to Sydney could become a reality thanks to the high-powered intervention from a cashed-up sponsor shared by the Super Rugby franchise and the Ireland captain.

O'Driscoll has repeatedly spoken publicly and to his good friend Cheika, who he worked under at Irish provincial side Leinster, about playing in the southern hemisphere competition.

With the Waratahs struggling on the field, and battling for exposure off it, Cheika only has to look across to Moore Park neighbours A-League's Sydney FC to see the impact a world-class international recruit - in their case Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero - can have.

And a possible third-party deal with the help of HSBC, who have sponsored the Waratahs for the past 11 years and count O'Driscoll as an official ambassador, could bring similar benefits to NSW.

"Brian is an ambassador for HSBC and he has an arrangement with them to promote them through rugby," Cheika said.

"He is contracted to them and is doing part of the (British and Irish) Lions preparation with them because they are a sponsor there too. He has a deal with them which includes such things as speaking engagements and writing articles for them, which obviously promote them and the game."

O'Driscoll is off contract in June next year and, while his signing would be a major coup for the Waratahs, Cheika said there was a way to go before it became a reality.

"The top players in the world like Brian would all like to come down and see how they fare down here but you have to remember it is very difficult for Irish players to leave Ireland," Cheika said.

"Because when they retire, they get a big tax back payment. He is obviously one of the highest-paid players in Ireland, so it would be a big decision for him to come here.

"But there is no doubt the thought about coming down here is with a lot of the top players over there. Whether it becomes a reality is something else."

AAP

Related Coverage

Timani makes giant strides

IN THE space of seven months Sitaleki Timani has transformed himself from an out-of-condition impact player into a versatile powerhouse in the Wallabies pack.

Rebels sign Blues' Super Rugby prop Manu

The Melbourne Rebels have strengthened their front-row options for the 2013 Super Rugby season after signing prop Pauliasi Manu from the Blues on a two-year contract.

Mealamu to win 100th All Blacks cap

Hooker Keven Mealamu will on Saturday become only the third player to win 100 caps for the All Blacks when he starts against Australia in the Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane.

Kepu returns as injury woes continue for Wallabies

The Wallabies forward pack has been buffeted by yet another injury-enforced change, with prop Ben Alexander withdrawing from Saturday's Bledisloe Test match with a wrist injury.

Fijian back row Koyamaibole banned for biting

Bordeaux-Begles' Fijian back row forward Sisa Koyamaibole was on Wednesday banned for three months for biting an opponent in last weekend's European Challenge Cup tie against London Irish.

Featured advertisers