Waratahs build on rugby league influence

Rugby league coach Anthony Griffin has crossed over to rugby union after joining the New South Wales Waratahs in a consultancy role.

Head coach Daryl Gibson has enlisted Griffin to help with the Waratahs attack with the 2019 Super Rugby season kicking off early next year.

Griffin – who was released by NRL club Penrith Panthers before this year’s NRL finals – led a session with the Waratahs backs and proved an instant hit.

“He was really good. It’s just different ideas and different ways of doing things,” Waratahs attack coach Chris Whitaker told AAP.

“We asked him to come in and do a couple of simple little plays we’ve been doing and obviously the rugby league guys spend a lot of time running lines and running options and that’s why they’re so good at it.

“It was quite a simple session but the boys took so much out of it, especially me and Daryl.

“He’s given us a lot of ideas, that’s for sure.”

Griffin will stay involved with the club as the Waratahs look to build on their 2018 campaign, where they finished one game short of the grand final.

Gibson and Whitaker also believe Griffin’s rugby league nous can aid the team on the defensive side of the ball.

“He [Griffin] is also keen to do some defensive type technique stuff as well,” Whitaker said.

“Obviously [NRL sides] do a lot of tackle technique, wrestling type of drills, things like that, which I think Steve would be pretty keen to get into the system as well.

“There’s obviously so many things they do in their game we can learn off. We obviously can’t copy and paste it but a lot of the principles are very similar.”

The Waratahs are familiar with rugby league, given their star player Israel Folau made 91 appearances in the NRL between 2007 and 2010 before switching codes to Australian Rules Football and eventually rugby union.

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