Waratahs preview 2013
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 12/02/13 9:20am
For a variety of reasons, things just did not click for the Waratahs in 2012. On paper, everything seemed to be in place for a serious challenge - Michael Foley arrived as head coach, while the exciting Sarel Pretorius joined a squad packed full of experience.
However they never seemed to recover from narrow losses to the Reds and the Highlanders at the start of the season - with the Sydney franchise registering just the four wins in total.
Injuries certainly played their part - with absences of Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman, Drew Mitchell, Lachie Turner and Berrick Barnes exposing a lack of depth to their squad - while the appointment of Foley failed to pay dividends.
As a result, the 'Tahs enter this season in a similar situation - with a new coaching set-up and new players. Former Leinster and Stade Francais boss Michael Cheika has taken over the reins from Foley, who has joined the Force, while Israel Folau has made the controversial switch to union.
The former rugby league international has spent the past couple of years playing Aussie Rules Football but he has quickly adapted to his latest switch, scoring twice against the Rebels in pre-season.
The 'Tahs have pulled off another coup by bringing in the highly-rated Michael Hooper from the Brumbies, however Chris Alcock, Dean Mumm, Pretorius, Elsom and Vickerman have all left.