Daryl Gibson has resigned as head coach of the Waratahs following a disappointing season with the side.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Georgina Robinson is reporting the NSW Rugby Union will make an official announcement later today. Gibson was originally set to leave the side at the end of the 2020 season, but has brought forward his departure by a year.
Gibson took over the Waratahs head coaching role in 2016 after three seasons as an assistant under Michael Cheika. However, while he played an important role in the Tahs’ first ever Super Rugby title in 2014, he was never able to get the most out of a squad loaded with Test experience.
After winning the title and making the semi-finals in the two seasons preceding Gibson’s promotion, the Waratahs missed the finals in 2016 before the worst season in the club’s history in 2017. A semi-finals appearance followed last year, but 2019 was another disappointment, with a demoralising 49-12 loss last weekend emphatically ending their slim finals chances.
The Waratahs finished 12th on the ladder in 2019 after winning only three of their last eight games without the suspended and subsequently sacked Israel Folau.
Gibson will leave the club after a season of lost opportunities and one sadly marred by a series of off-field controversies, chiefly Folau’s bitter fight with Rugby Australia.
After snapping the mighty Crusaders’ record 19-match winning streak in March, the Waratahs’ campaign hit the skids.
Folau became Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer with his 60th five-pointer in a narrow round-eight loss to the Blues in Auckland in April.
But that was the last game the dual international played after having his multi-million-dollar four-year contract torn up for his controversial social media posts.
Unable to replace his attacking prowess, the Waratahs struggled to find tries during the second half of the season, slumping from first in the Australian conference to third behind the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels by season’s end.
To great frustration to Gibson and the team, the Tahs lost six games by eight points or less and three by three points or less.
In addition to the Folau firestorm, Gibson and the Waratahs had to contend with hooker Tolu Latu’s drink-driving drama.
Having just completed a six-match suspension, Latu was found asleep at the wheel of a moving car last month before registering a 0.135 blood alcohol reading.
Fined $1300 and suspended from driving for three months after pleading guilty to mid-range drink-driving, Latu this week was hit with a $5000 breach notice by Rugby Australia and banned for four matches.
Gibson leaves the Waratahs with just 28 victories from 64 matches, but has been linked to the vacant Wallabies attack coach role.
Replacing the former All Black has been made difficult by the recent departure of assistant coach Simon Cron. Cron, who has helped the Waratahs noticeably improve their set-piece work since joining as forwards coach in 2018 and was seen as the most obvious candidate to succeed Gibson in 2021, is heading to Japan to coach Toyota Verbitz.