Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has shouldered the responsibility for his side’s lowest ebb in recent memory, after losing to the Kings on Friday night.
The last time the Waratahs found themselves on the wrong side of a surprise South African loss at home was a 2011 defeat to the Cheetahs, a game after which they were booed off the field, though the fan response wasn't nearly as emphatic on Friday night.
A 26-24 loss to the Kings, a team on the brink of being cut from Super Rugby, leaves the Waratahs with just two wins from eight games and though it was the players who Gibson said ‘lacked urgency’, it was he who should take responsibility, he said.
“At the end of the day, the coach is responsible for that performance,” he said.
"Every time we lose at home, that’s the most disappointing thing.
“Our fans, the expectation we have for ourselves at home are really high.
“Tonight, we were a long way from our best and as the coach it’s disappointing.”
Though he took much of the blame, Gibson said the next week would be a ‘soul-searching’ one.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of soul searching in terms of looking at themselves very deeply,” he said.
"That goes for everyone in the organisation around (asking) ‘Are we at our best, is everyone doing their jobs to the highest ability that they’re capable?’,” he said.
“Only the players can answer that.”
Gibson had spoken during the week about danger of the Kings, who had pushed the Force and the Reds, but admitted there seemed to be unwarranted glimpses of complacency in his side.
“I wouldn’t that complacency would creep into a team that’s in the position we’re and that’s the frustrating part of the game tonight,” he said.
“In terms of looking at where the players’ motivations lie, that’s my responsibility and clearly tonight we were not quite there.”
Gibson said he simply had to ‘cop’ the inevitable questions about his own tenure, in his second season in charge.
“Every time the team goes out there, of course I feel the pressure,” he said.
“We all feel the pressure, when the team’s in the situation that it’s in, those questions are going to be asked.
“You’ve got to cop it. Those decisions are beyond my control.”
The Waratahs are sweating on a shoulder injury to in-form hooker Tolu Latu, with Gibson hoping the 24-year-old will overcome a slight subluxation in time for Saturday’s derby with the Reds.