Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says he has learned plenty in a tumultuous second season at the NSW helm.
Gibson didn’t hit the panic button with his selections despite his side being on the verge of the worst Waratahs record in history, making just three changes to his 23 to face the Force.
The former All Black was philosophical about his second year as head coach, a season in which he has come under immense external pressure.
“I think it’s certainly been a challenge and one that I’ve really learned a great deal from and that’s coaching,” he said.
“Having one bad season doesn’t make me a bad coach. I can certainly learn from it, treat it all as feedback and transform it and do it quickly.”
The Waratahs have found it hard going against teams driven by emotion, with the Super Rugby axe hovering, losing to the Kings in Sydney, sneaking home against the Rebels in Melbourne and Gibson said it was an issue they needed to address.
“I think that’s what every team brings to the table and unfortunately we haven’t aimed up there and our results show that, we’ve won four games,” he said.
“It’s certainly we have learned from that and will carry those lessons into next season”
Gibson said their breakdown defence was the first target this weekend, against a Force team full of forward threats.
“We felt the defence across the ruck, no doubt I’m sure the Force would’ve seen that and they’ll be coming at us there so we’ve done a lot of work around to make sure that’s really solid,” he said.
“That’s an area of the game that they’re good at.
“Then just working on our consistency and making sure we do play for the full 80 and acquit ourselves well.”
Defence has been a major concern for NSW, who have leaked 40+ points in three consecutive weeks and Gibson admitted there was no clear fix for that this week.
“In terms of putting my finger on just one thing, I think it’s a number of factors,” he said.
“Attitude’s always one - defence is a personal thing.
“It’s a round that intent and desire. Structures, systems, a whole heap of things we haven’t been able to fix all year.”
The Waratahs meet the Force on Saturday in Perth, kicking off at 5:45pm AWST and 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.