THE NSW Waratahs enjoyed everything about their first Super Rugby game in Newcastle except one thing - the result, a shock 31-29 loss to the Sunwolves.
It's a statistics assistant coach Chris Whitaker is desperate to correct second time around.
As revealed in the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday, the Waratahs will taken on New Zealand side, the Blues at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday, February 8.
The round-two clash is the Tahs' first home game after they open the season in Christchurch against champions, the Crusaders.
"The beginning of the season is so important, it can set your year up," Whitaker said. "You want to start on the front foot and get a few wins under you belt, than start slowly and chase your tail the whole year."
This is the second season the Waratahs will be without a permanent home ground, while a new stadium is being built at Moore Park.
McDonald Jones Stadium is among six venues being used and Whitaker welcomed the return to the region.
"Going back to Newcastle is great," he said. "The boys loved it, I just hope we get a result this time.
"Having played there last year, it is a bit more comfortable for the boys. We will know our surroundings and things like that and hopefully we will be a lot better."
Newcastle prop Harry Johnson-Holmes is in his third season with the Tahs and fellow former Wanderer Andrew Tuala is also expected to be in the squad, along with a host of fresh faces.
"Harry had his Newcastle Knights jumper on at training on Monday," Whitaker said. "Andrew Tuala is training well. With Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley and Adam Ashley Cooper and up front Sekope Kepu leaving, there will be a lot of young guys coming through. With young guys you get enthusiasm, and you also get fearlessness."
The Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union worked in conjunction with McDonald Jones Stadium and Newcastle City Council to tender for the game.
NHRU general manager Andy Fairful is confident of surpassing the 12,621 which turned out for the upset lost to the Sunwolves in March.
"The Waratahs and the zone learnt lesson from the first Super Rugby fixture," Fairfull said. "The right reins have been pulled in terms of the right opposition and the right date. Australian-New Zealand fixtures are the ones people want to see. Most local rugby clubs will be in pre-season and playing trial games and we think the appetite for rugby will be there. "
The match is before the Newcastle Knights kick off their campaign, avoiding the clash that occurred this year, and NSW Rugby Union intend to increase their marketing.
"I think they looked at the Wallaroos test here [in July] and how Rugby Australia promoted it," Fairfull said. "You can always improve. We have had a Waratahs game this year, a Wallaroos game this year, World Cup coming up ... we think it is a great thing to follow up and try to build momentum at grass roots with these superstars."