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Coleman: Waratahs down but not out after disappointing start

By AAP
Waratahs' Michael Hooper (C) looks on during the Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on February 24, 2023. (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

A 1-3 start to their Super Rugby campaign has hit the Waratahs’ hopes of a top-four finish but coach Darren Coleman says his side can turn their season around.

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Coach Darren Coleman remains confident the NSW Waratahs can turn around a Super Rugby Pacific season that started with high expectations but has so far brought only one win from four games.

Friday’s 34-17 loss to the Hurricanes came after another error-prone performance from the Wallabies-laden Waratahs, whose much-vaunted attack has so far failed to fire consistently in the campaign.

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In his first season in charge, Coleman transformed the Waratahs from a hapless outfit that went winless in 2021 to finals contenders, but his target of a top-four finish this year now looks like a big ask.

“We are not talking top four at the moment. It looks too far in the distance,” he told reporters in Wellington.

“If we can scramble a win over the next two weeks – the Chiefs at home or the next week against the Brumbies – we’ve got a pretty favourable run home.

“Five of our final eight are at home. We’re still in it, but we’ve got to dig our way out of this form slump we’re in at the moment and get some belief and confidence back.”

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The problem for Coleman is that the Waikato Chiefs and ACT Brumbies were the only unbeaten sides after the first three rounds of the competition, with the latter having beaten the Waratahs in their season opener.

Coleman conceded he had probably underestimated the difficulty of their opening four matches with only one at home, and he was clearly looking forward to getting back to the Sydney Football Stadium for the Chiefs match next Friday.

“We don’t want to be going into the bye 1-5, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“But that’s my job, to get us back up to go again next week. By no means is the season over, by any stretch.”

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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