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Coleman open to Waratahs return while three candidates floated as his successor

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Sacked Darren Coleman says there’s no bad blood between him and the Waratahs hierarchy and he hopes to return one day for another crack as NSW coach.


With just two wins from 12 matches and sitting last on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, the Waratahs announced on Monday that Coleman’s third season at the helm would be his last.

He will coach the remaining two rounds against Moana Pasifika in Auckland and the Queensland Reds at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

After a horror stint under Rob Penney, Coleman took the Waratahs to the quarter-finals in 2022 and 2023 but side struggled this season.

A number of players have already announced their departure while captain Jake Gordon sought a release from his contract that was denied by Rugby Australia.

Sitting alongside Waratahs boss Paul Doorn, Coleman insisted he didn’t feel hard done by despite a huge injury toll contributing to their ladder position.

“The board and the organisation have taken everything on board and they’ve made the best decision,” said Coleman, adding he felt relief the decision had finally been made after it was floated at round four.


“There’s definitely no bad blood from my end, I’m not slinging, throwing any rocks on the way out.”

He ran through six emotions he was feeling: appreciative for the opportunity, thankful for the friendships, sorry for the lack of success, frustrated by their injuries, proud of the initial impact he had and motivated to finish the season on a high.

“I feel this year could have turned out a lot different with a bit of luck at crucial times around our front-row injuries and, and that run of four games early in the season,” said Coleman, who was forced to borrow a prop from Melbourne.

“I feel some success in those or a result or two may have seen a different season unfold.”

He said he would like another chance at NSW in future when he was a “better coach”.

“I’m motivated to reflect, to learn and improve from this experience and to continue to enjoy the fruits of this great sport.


“The dreamer in me would love to come back one day, 10 years down the track and have another shot at it as a better coach.”

Coleman said he wanted to finish on a high by driving the Waratahs to wins in their final two matches to avoid last place.

The Waratahs (12 points) can leapfrog 11th-placed Moana Pasifika (14 points) when they face off next Saturday.

The 10th-placed Crusaders (15 points) can also be caught by NSW.

“We’re sitting in a horrible position on the ladder which I want to rectify,” he said.

“I want to win our last two games and get up a few spots on that ladder and have all the staff and players that are here leave with a smile on their face.”

Doorn said the recruitment process to find a new coach started as soon as the board made the decision.

He didn’t want to name coaching options but said he hadn’t heard from former Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who led the team to the Super title in 2014.

Current NSW assistant and Australia A coach Jason Gilmore could be in the mix along with Fiji World Cup mentor Simon Raiwalui and former Waratahs centre Nathan Grey, who is the Australia U20 coach.


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