Daryl Gibson steps down as Waratahs head coach
Last Updated: 21/06/19 10:06am
Daryl Gibson's stint as Waratahs head coach is over after he walked away from the job with 12 months remaining on his contract.
The former All Blacks centre took over from Australia coach Michael Cheika in 2016 but has led the Waratahs into the Super Rugby playoffs just once in four seasons.
This season was heavily disrupted by the protracted sacking of Israel Folau - the most prolific try-scorer in Super Rugby history - and the Waratahs finished third in the Australian Conference with 10 defeats from 16 games.
It's been a challenging period leading people through that. The time taken away and invested in that was taken away from our focus on rugby.
Daryl Gibson on Israel Folau's sacking
"It's a decision I haven't taken lightly and I've been considering over many months but it is absolutely the right time for myself, my family, the team," said the 44-year-old.
"It's clear we are entering a new cycle in New South Wales Rugby, we've got this wave of young, vibrant talent - some real gold nuggets - coming through in the next three or four years.
"It's time for another coach to take them on that journey, I'm a one-year prospect and I believe another coach needs to own that.
"It's time for a new voice and a new direction."
Gibson, who signed a one-year contract extension in February, was backs coach under Cheika when the Waratahs won the Super Rugby title for the first time in 2014.
There is a possibility he might reunite with Cheika at the Wallabies, who have not had an attack coach in place since Stephen Larkham was sacked in February.
"There were some talks earlier in the month but that's a decision for [Cheika]," said Gibson.
"It would be interesting."
Gibson signed off with a record of 28 wins in 64 matches as head coach, having never really got his Wallabies-laden backline firing the way it often threatened to.
The Folau saga this year was undoubtedly a major distraction but finishes of 10th, 16th and 12th in three years of his reign were never really good enough for Australia's richest and best-resourced state.
Gibson said the Folau sacking had no bearing on his decision but admitted it had been "tiring".
"It's been a challenging period leading people through that," he said. "The time taken away and invested in that was taken away from our focus on rugby."
With Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Phipps, Sekope Kepu and Tatafu Polota-Nau all likely to be off or already confirmed departures at the end of the season, the new coach faces a big rebuilding job.