Super 14 finalists the Waratahs appointed Chris Hickey as head coach on Tuesday, ending a drawn-out selection process to replace outgoing chief Ewen McKenzie.
Report courtesy News24.
Hickey, the Australia under-21s coach in 2005/06, is a relative novice at Super 14 level, helping to take the Brumbies to the 1997 final of the southern hemisphere provincial competition as assistant coach.
But the Waratahs hope his experience coaching first grade sides in Sydney and Canberra to 11 grand final appearances in 14 years, winning five of the deciders, will translate onto the bigger stage.
“This is a special opportunity I’ve been given and I’m excited about the role,” Hickey said.
“Every professional rugby coach in this state wants to have the opportunity to be the Waratahs coach. It’s a big challenge, a big responsibility, but I know I’m ready and can’t wait to get started.”
Hickey added he was looking forward to identifying new talent while also enhancing the winning culture at the Waratahs.
“Chris is a proven winner,” NSW Rugby Union chairperson Arvid Petersen said.
“His record with (Sydney club side) Eastwood has simply been stunning and we believe he can build upon what is already an impressive foundation.”
McKenzie was told in April that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the year but went on to guide the side to last weekend’s final against the Crusaders, which they lost 20-12.
McKenzie took the Waratahs to two finals during his five years in charge and Petersen said the new coach had a high standard to live up to.
“But Chris inherits a great set-up, a great playing roster and the organisation will now work with him on getting his coaching team finalised for 2009,” he said.
“He’s shown at a club level his ability to set up a fantastic programme with limited resources and create a winning culture.
“At the Waratahs Chris will have all the resources he needs to bring that experience to a completely professional environment and further develop the programme at NSW Rugby.”
Hickey’s three-year contract begins on July 1, but he will spend the next month working with McKenzie and Waratahs high performance manager Tony D’Arcy to ensure a smooth handover.Tweet