Waratahs' game against Crusaders must be moved from SCG

Twelve days and counting. That's how long NSW Waratahs have to find a new venue for their prized match-up with the Crusaders.

The two-time defending Super Rugby champions are heading to the SCG in Round 6 but if the Waratahs, and SANZAAR, too, for that matter, are serious about ensuring the trans-Tasman encounter can produce the best spectacle possible, it must be moved to a more suitable venue.

The writing was on the wall during the warm-up before the Waratahs' 28-17 victory over the Reds on Saturday night, as the SCG surface started caving in even before the opening whistle.

"It looked really good when we went out there but when we did the warm-ups in the dead-ball zone with the scrummaging, it just didn't have any strength to it," Reds coach Brad Thorn said of the surface post-game.

To their credit, the Reds didn't blame sinking stadium turf for their loss despite the fact that they had the vastly-superior scrum and a desire to assert their dominance from the key set-piece.

"But on top of that, it's not an excuse," Reds skipper Samu Kerevi continued. "Good surface or no good, whatever, that game was on us as a playing group. The coaches, I thought, had a good game plan for us and we didn't execute it, that's on the players. We need to look at ourselves and come back better for next week, especially in another tour game against the Sunwolves. So the surface didn't play into it and there's no excuse there."

No excuses for the Reds, that's admirable. And a sign of the mentality that Thorn has instilled in his now 0-3 franchise this season.

But there can be no excuse for the Waratahs to not at least investigate the logistics of moving their game against the Crusaders.

Sure, Allianz Stadium is out of action; its future anything but clear given the current state political climate.

But why not investigate a return to Brookvale Oval or even Leichhardt? It may cost the club are few thousand supporters through the gate, but it would at least ensure the crowd isn't squinting to make out which players are doing what. And then there's the atmosphere -- or lack thereof -- which on Saturday night offered nothing more than the mere murmurs of polite conversation.

The biggest cheer was, appropriately, reserved for the SCG groundstaff when they were forced to repack the surface for the umpteenth time so a lineout could be safely set close to the Waratahs' line.

"We're loving the fact we're getting around the state," Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said. "It's such an iconic ground, it's a real thrill to play here."

Be that as it may and the rich history the venue has in Test rugby, the reality is the SCG is in no way suited to host Super Rugby and the surface issues from Saturday night only reinforce that.

A quick check of the NRL draw would seemingly rule out Brookvale Oval for the visit of the Crusaders, as the Sea Eagles play host to the Roosters at virtually the same kick-off time, unless SANZAAR, and the Waratahs and Crusaders, agreed to shift their game to a Sunday afternoon timeslot.

But a far simpler solution would be to utilise Leichhardt Oval which is vacant that weekend. Wests Tigers are playing at Campbelltown Stadium on the Sunday while there is a bye in the A-League, which means Sydney FC won't be playing in Sydney's inner west either.

North Sydney Oval could be another option.

Sydney's Shute Shield final has been played there the past three years and there have been no signs of surface collapse while the atmosphere has been exceptional.

The Crusaders are rugby's most entertaining team to watch, the brand of rugby they play and the confidence with which they execute is a testament to the way the game should be played.

They deserve a venue that not only provides a surface on which they can play at their absolute peak, but also feel the energy of a crowd that has come to see them perform.

The Waratahs and SANZAAR have 12 days to get this right. The clock is ticking.