Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson says his side’s season is not a lost cause, despite a 2-3 start to the year.
The Waratahs clawed their way back from 21-3 down to trail by just four points in the final stages, before falling just short of the Rebels on Sunday.
NSW heads into its second bye now with just two wins, both over the Queensland Reds, and six points adrift of the second-placed Rebels.
Despite that record Gibson is confident the Waratahs can turn it around towards the back end of the year.
“In terms of has the season bolted? I don’t believe so,” he said.
“We’ve lost three, it’s a long way to go and we’re very optimistic that we can tun it around.”
While Gibson was pleased with the multitude of opportunities his side had, the inaccurate handling that cost them the ability to capitalise on those was frustrating.
“The good news is we’re creating opportunities,” he said.
“When your catching pass is letting you down under pressure that’s difficult.
“That’s definitely one area of our game that has been an Achilles heel for us. Against the highlanders made mistakes, they capitalised on them.
“If we’re going to be a ball in hand team you’re going to have to be much better in that area.
That they let another slow start get the better of them was a concern for the Waratahs, who have trailing at the break in their past three matches.
Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said the sluggish starts were a problem he wishes he could solve.
“Unfortunately it’s been the same story each week and why we get to that position where we have to fight our way out...if I could put my finger on it I’d love to know the answer,” he said.
“It’s not the case.
“We need to start well.
“The reality is we’re not going to get anywhere if we keep putting ourselves under this amount of pressure early in games against good teams.”
Backrower Jed Holloway’s night was ended early after a precautionary benching due to hamstring “awareness” but Gibson wasn’t concerned for his overall fitness.
The Waratahs host the conference-leading Brumbies in Sydney after the bye.