Newcastle is a sport loving community
The Waratahs will relocate to Newcastle next week, taking to the Hunter region for short training camp before the Christmas break.
The squad arrives in Newcastle next Wednesday, December 19, and will conduct a fan day at Hunter Stadium and several public training sessions, before returning to Sydney on Saturday, December 22.
The visit has been welcomed by Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy.
"Newcastle is a sport loving community and I am sure everyone will welcome the NSW Waratahs with open arms," he said.
"It is great to see teams of this calibre travelling to regional areas and the two day camp will provide an exciting precursor to the British & Irish Lions Tour match scheduled for Tuesday, June 11 next year against a combined NSW and Queensland Country side.
"The city's ability to continually attract sporting events at the highest level is one of the main contributors to Newcastle being named as the 2012 World Festival and Event city by the International Festival and Events Association."
As part of their on-field preparation, the team will conduct morning and afternoon skills and conditioning sessions at No. 2 Sports Ground, which the public are welcome to watch.
New Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says the camp has clear advantages for the squad as well as the Newcastle community.
"As well the chance to give our pre-season training one last push before the Christmas break, the camp is an important chance to get out and about in one of our strong regional communities. As well as a bit of hard work, we're looking forward to meeting our fans from the Newcastle Hunter region and making the most of the chance to support the local rugby community and the work of the NSWRU development team," said Cheika.
"We represent New South Wales and a number of our players are country boys, including Jeremy Tilse who was born and bred up in Maitland, Benn Robinson, whose family property is in the Tamworth area, Kane Douglas and Jed Holloway from Yamba, Pat McCutcheon from Narromine and Paddy Ryan from Tamworth. It is important to us that we recognise this in our program."
Last year the Waratahs spent a week in Tamworth and played their first trial match there.
Over the past few years the squad has visited a number of rural and regional areas such as Lismore, Orange and Nowra and enjoyed taking to the road and visiting the fans, members and rugby families from outside the Sydney area.
With the exception of the squad's returning Wallabies, who return to training in early January, the camp will be attended by all the NSW playing squad, including a number of additional players from the NSW rugby community who have been invited to train with the squad.