Tahs still to lock in Hunt, Ashley-Cooper

Adrian Warren
The NSW Waratahs are close to finalising a deal with veteran utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper

NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson hopes Adam Ashley-Cooper will finally sign next week for his Super Rugby squad, but there's less certainty about a potential deal with Karmichael Hunt.

Veteran utility back Ashley-Cooper, with 117 Wallaby caps, last month helped the Kobe Kobelco Steelers to win the Japan Rugby Top League title.

The 34-year-old was named in the competition's All-Star XV in the centres.

"Certainly discussions have been positive," Gibson told AAP on Friday.

"A lot of the players in Japan are still a week way from joining a lot of the Super sides. So hopefully, we can announce him next week."

Fellow Wallabies back Hunt, like Ashley-Cooper, has been linked in recent weeks to the Tahs but, again, a deal is yet to be finalised.

Hunt, on the outer in 2018 with Queensland coach Brad Thorn, and is looking for somewhere to play this year.

With most Australian teams having little salary-cap wriggle room, a player swap is one potential way of getting a deal done.

"We're still in discussions with Karmichael; we're doing due diligence around any potential player swap there," Gibson said.

Hunt and Ashley-Cooper appeal to the Tahs as both are capable of playing multiple backline spots.

Their flexibility would potentially allow Gibson to rest some of his big-name backs including Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau, all of whom play big minutes.

"The realisation is if we are to make progress in this competition, we want to make sure that our squad has got lots of gas in the tank, if we can win our way through to a playoff situation," Gibson said.

"I think probably the realisation is we need to mange our players better from a Waratahs perspective."

One signing completed by the Tahs this week was 23-year-old South African 135kg second-rower Le Roux Roets.

"A bigger-bodied lock was the profile that we were after because we believe we've got a lot of athletic locks and we just needed someone to carry the ball forward for us and get physical and abrasive," Gibson said.