Case for change

For more than five years the NSW Rugby Union and NSW Waratahs have operated as separate entities. While the decision helped to improve areas of the business at the time, what it also did was to create a divide between the professional and community sides of rugby union in New South Wales.

There was a clear message that NSWRU and the Waratahs needed to build stronger working relationships with Clubs, improve the delivery of services and programmes and build a strong connection between the grassroots sport and the NSW Waratahs.

The NSW Waratahs rely on strong Clubs and rugby development across New South Wales. Equally the grassroots rely on the NSW Waratahs developing ‘leaders’ in the sport that can help attract more people to play rugby.

Rugby Union in New South Wales has a proud history both at the Club level and at a representative level, the NSW Waratahs.

In 2016, the decision was made to bring to two organisations back together under one management model, with one vision and one strategy to grow the game of rugby across the State of New South Wales.


  • To ensure best practice governance structures are in place to support the development of rugby both now and for the future.
  • To facilitate growth, development and success of rugby in New South Wales from the grassroots to the elite level.
  • To promote and offer opportunities to have rugby as a ‘game for all’.
  • To build a sustainable sporting organisation that ensures success both on and off the field, now and into the future.
  • To develop a winning culture at all levels of the game on and off the field, including building heroes of the sport that inspire the next generation to play and be part of the sport of rugby union.
  • To reconnect with rugby’s fan base to inspire and energise all fans from the beach to bush.
  • To establish the NSW Waratahs brand as a leading Super Rugby team in Australia.
  • To maintain the unique values that rugby has


  • Establish a strong and effective governance model, with an integrated model. This includes identifying the right people for Board and Executive level.
  • Develop a world-class operating model and management team
  • Create a sustainable funding model across the whole sport that will support all other initiatives
  • Secure optimal playing, training and administration facilitate for all levels of the sport across New South Wales
  • Develop and execute a comprehensive marketing plan that will promote and engage rugby fans across the State and attract new participants to the sport
  • Redefine the organisational culture to that of ‘success and winning’ at all levels of the sport.


  • Establishment of one strategic framework for the organisation through 2020, focusing on eight key drivers including:
    1. Governance
    2. Commercial and financial
    3. Community engagement
    4. Creating a winning culture
    5. Market positioning
    6. People development
    7. Operations and facilities
    8. Creating one brand identity
  • Changes to governance where there is now one Chair, one CEO and two non-executives move across the both boards, to effectively bring them together under one management structure.
  • Development of a new brand identity that will create a consistent brand across all NSW Rugby programs – from the Waratahs to Rugby 7’s, Suburban Rugby to Generation Blue, Juniors to Referees. The new brand will start to be rolled out during 2017.
  • Restructure of the senior management team.
  • Reconnecting the Waratahs to the community through memberships including:
    1. Free junior season memberships which are now available for children up to the age of U14.
    2. Connecting to regional New South Wales – the introduction of a country membership package.
    3. Connecting to families – introduction of the ‘Lady Waratah’ and ‘Baby’ memberships to give the whole family a reason to be part of the Tah Family.
    4. Season members now have free entry to the Shute Shield Grand Final as well as access to the two trial home games in Mudgee and Manly.