July 31, 2018 / 12:40 AM / 15 days ago

Coach Gibson backs Folau to stay with Waratahs

SYDNEY (Reuters) - New South Wales Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson is on the verge of signing a two-year contract extension and believes fullback Israel Folau is also set to re-sign for the Super Rugby team.

After missing the 2016 and 2017 playoffs under New Zealander Gibson in his first two years in charge, the Waratahs were knocked out of the semi-finals by the Lions over the weekend.

“Obviously I’ve agreed to stay on, which is a good thing,” Gibson said on his return from Johannesburg.

“Really pleased - I see a lot of potential in our squad and we want to fully maximise what we can do as a team.

“At the moment we’re looking at a two-year deal, which would be good. Still haven’t put pen to paper but certainly I’m happy with the direction of where negotiations are going.”

The out-of-contract Folau has been linked with a move to inter-state rivals Queensland Reds but Gibson said he expected the Wallabies livewire to remain in Sydney.

“A lot of those negotiations are with Rugby Australia but certainly every indication is that Israel is very happy here,” he said.

Flyhalf Bernard Foley has also yet to re-commit to the Waratahs but said his future would be decided soon.

“My focus has been on the Waratahs,” the Wallabies number 10 said.

“Now it’s over and the focus moves straight to the Bledisloe Cup ... So, it’s all exciting and something like that will definitely be done soon.”

The Canterbury Crusaders bid for a record-extending ninth Super Rugby title when they host the Johannesburg-based Lions in Christchurch on Saturday.

With Australia’s Super Rugby season over following the Waratahs’ elimination, Wallabies players head straight into camp this week to prepare for their Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks in Sydney on Aug. 18.

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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