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Tahs dare to dream: SBW tops triple-header hit list

Date

Greg Growden

EXCLUSIVE

Waratahs wish list ... Sonny Bill Williams and Phil Blake.

Waratahs wish list ... Sonny Bill Williams and Phil Blake.

A SENIOR NSW official is involved in an audacious plan to create a 2013 Waratahs dream team revolving around Ewen McKenzie, Phil Blake and Sonny Bill Williams.

The Sun-Herald has been told a high-profile Waratahs official has, in conjunction with several rugby powerbrokers and at least two player managers, been working on bringing back McKenzie as head coach, installing Blake as his assistant and signing dual international Williams as their marquee player.

This dramatic development is understood to be a major reason why there has been a delay in the announcement of the Waratahs coach to replace Michael Foley.

Those involved in trying to revive the ailing franchise, after a dreadful season where the Tahs slumped to 11th spot, realise they need big names to bring back the crowds. And they know the return of McKenzie, who took the Queensland Reds to a Super Rugby title last year after being dumped by NSW in 2008, will excite local supporters - especially as many firmly believe he has been the best Waratahs coach of the professional era. Also the sight of Williams in the Waratahs colours would lead to sell-out home games.

Williams, who starred in the centres for the All Blacks in their recent victories over the Wallabies, is expected to appear for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL next year on a handshake deal, but sources say there ''is a hiccup''. If the Tahs landed Williams, he would be listed as an import, meaning the Tahs would punt out-of-favour South African halfback Sarel Pretorius.

The push for former NRL player Blake to move to the Waratahs is also strong, after filling the role of caretaker coach at Western Force following Richard Graham's departure to the Reds. Blake was a Wallabies assistant coach for several years.

The Waratahs official involved in this plan has deliberately kept it secret from several members of the coaching selection panel. All that is being said is there are ''two more coaching interviews to go''.

And it appears McKenzie is in demand on several fronts at the Waratahs. Sources confirmed there was recently a concerted push from other influential NSW rugby figures for McKenzie to be the Waratahs' next chief executive officer, taking over from Jason Allen. But Waratahs supporters should not yet start celebrating the possibility of McKenzie and Williams being at Moore Park in 2013. There are many hurdles.

For Williams to be lured to NSW, it would require massive third-party deals, and this would put the Waratahs in conflict with the ARU, which frowns on such arrangements. Also the Waratahs could not ask the ARU for a contractual top-up, because Williams, by representing the All Blacks, is not eligible to play for the Wallabies.

What's more, McKenzie is firmly entrenched at the Reds, where he has been very happy with their administrative structure. He is also probably waiting to see how Robbie Deans fares during the Rugby Championship, because if the Test team continues to falter, there is a strong possibility that McKenzie will be the next Wallabies coach.

The delay in the Waratahs head coach announcement has caused major dramas at head office. Numerous members of this season's Waratahs staff are concerned about their future. They are unimpressed in not getting any answers from the hierarchy. Several are unhappy to be told by a Waratahs administrator: ''You blokes are lucky to still have a job, so leave me to do mine.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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