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Waratahs dismiss O'Driscoll talk as backs coach goes

Dream on ... Irish linchpin Brian O'Driscoll.

Dream on ... Irish linchpin Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Andrew Gorrie

DO NOT expect to see Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll in the sky blue any time soon.

As the Waratahs announced the departure of a second assistant coach, Scott Bowen, the province was hosing down reports O'Driscoll would be lured to Sydney by Michael Cheika, his former coach at Leinster.

Despite O'Driscoll's publicly voiced interest in an Australian stint, open-ended comments from Cheika and reports of a possible agreement with sponsor HSBC, it is understood the Irish superstar is no realistic chance of playing for NSW any time in the near future.

The Waratahs understand the short-term gains of a signing of that magnitude. The 120-cap Ireland linchpin would deliver the Waratahs coverage of which the Moore Park suits can only dream.

Adding particularly tantalising appeal to an O'Driscoll-Cheika reunion is the presence of a large Irish expatriate community in Sydney. Attendances at games would be boosted overnight.

The 33-year-old is off contract in June and, barring disaster, will travel to Australia with the British and Irish Lions squad next year. Cheika has expressed his regard for the Ireland captain but also his belief that O'Driscoll's ties to his homeland may prove too great.

"The top players in the world like Brian would all like to come down and see how they fare here but you have to remember it is very difficult for Irish players to leave Ireland," he said this week. ''Because when they retire, they get a big tax backpayment. 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.''

In the meantime, the Waratahs say they are serious about breathing life back into the rugby union pathways at home.

And while the market for contractable players has shrunk considerably, the province appears to be walking the talk with the selection of four local talents to compete for the last position in the extended squad.

Shute Shield player of the year Hamish Angus is one, along with Randwick captain and former Rebels five-eighth Toby Browne, Southern Districts and Australia under-20s fullback Ben Volavola and Victorian import Peter Samu, who now plays in the back row for Randwick.

The selections of three backs and the earlier recruitment of halfback Matt Lucas, winger Michael Hodge and outside back Cam Crawford indicate Cheika's and Gaffney's focus on depth in the Waratahs back line.

Departing backs coach Bowen also played a big role in assembling the roster for next year.

Cheika yesterday thanked the former Waratahs five-eighth for his service. Bowen followed out former defence coach Greg Mumm, who left last month.

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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