Woeful Waratahs need to find their mojo

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs of Friday night’s loss against the Kings were a team devoid of confidence, not talent, centre Rob Horne says.

Horne, speaking to media on Monday afternoon, said his initial reaction to the loss was that players weren’t going with their guts.

“For me, when you come off the field you get a bit of a sense of what’s happened,’ he said.

“You haven’t watched anything you’ve just been in it, so my initial thing was just a bit of indecision and not backing that first instinct.

“We’ve seen through reviewing and talking to each other, that’s definitely a part of what’s happened, what’s been happening.”

Rob Horne has recovered from a wrist injury to face the Force. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThere’s no shortage of stars among the Waratahs outfit, a team that includes 12 capped Wallabies and two players earmarked as the next Test generation, and Horne said they had to somehow rediscover the confidence that had made them a force in the past.

“We’re a team that’s got good footballers in it so we just have to back ourselves and what we want to do in that moment, not think, ‘Oh, what if that, or what if this?’,” he said.

“That second guessing, it hurts you.”

Coach Daryl Gibson said after Friday’s game that there was an element of undeserved complacency in his team against the Kings and Horne admitted that was a possibility.

“I didn’t really feel that from the playing group but obviously when things didn’t go well in the game that had to be a part of it,” he said.

“If you’re real and if you’re doing your job to the best of your ability, we like to think that we can win our games at home.”

The Waratahs convened on Sunday for a review, before getting back to training on Monday, a session that necessitated some brutal honesty.

Gibson admitted he had to tread carefully in his approach to this week, with a ‘fear’ weighing on the players’ shoulders.

“Particularly when you’re in a losing situation, the players carry a great sense of responsibility and fear around their performance and making mistakes,” he said.

“It is a fine balancing act.

“(We’re) trying to take away that second guessing  and getting them to play with that confidence and instinctiveness that we know that they can.”

'We didn't play well.' Daryl Gibson was frustrated on Friday night. Photo: Getty ImagesGibson didn’t shy away from questions about his future on Monday, which have been a regular hurdle for the Waratahs coach with just two wins from eight matches.

“As head coach, I take the lion’s share of (responsibility) and the criticism that comes with that,” he said.

“I can’t worry what’s going to happen with my future, I can’t control what may happen, I can only control what’s going to happen in the present.

“I’m very firmly focused on making sure we get our performance right.”

The Waratahs’ woes look set to be compounded by the potential absence of Tolu Latu this week, with the hooker suffering a shoulder injury that ended his game against the Kings early.

The Waratahs travel to Brisbane to take on the Reds on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.