Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has dismissed a report that some of his players have lost faith in his plan, describing the notion as ‘whispers and rumours’.
Gibson took the opportunity before his Monday press conference began to address a report that some players had lost faith in the second-year Waratahs mentor, with the side on the verge of its worst season in history.
"I certainly won’t be entering into what amounts to whispers and rumours,” he said.
The NSW coach said he hadn’t addressed players over the issue, confident he had their backing.
“Not at all,” he said.
“If I felt that, I’d be first to identify that.”
Though he disputed the report, Gibson admitted he had misjudged his playing roster at the start of the season, an error that put them on the back foot.
“What we’ve found this year is the assumptions we made at the start of the season around our list and what our strengths could be, didn’t materialise,” he said.
“We’ve had to pare our game back quite a lot from that wide, expansive style we tried to play to more pragmatic feel.
“I thought at the start of the season we’d be far more mobile than we were and a faster team.
“What we’ve found is we’re still quite a big team and didn’t move quite as well as what we’d hoped so that restricts us in what we’re trying to do.”
Gibson said the Waratahs would look at a new preseason structure, in the vein of their Moore Park neighbours NRL’s Sydney Roosters, where they reshuffle their hardest training days.
Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick started in place of Tolu Latu against the Jaguares, with Latu sent back to club rugby after missing training , and said he wasn’t sure where the report had come from.
“I only found out about it in the last little bit... I hadn’t heard about it, so I don’t know where it came from,” he said.
The 28-year-old was adamant the players needed to step up amid the criticism.
“We are taking responsibility and as more speculation amounts away from the players, the more accountable we become,” he said.
“Because we feel there’s been clear messages throughout the week from management and as players we’ve got to go out and do it.
“The more speculation that’s thrown out there, the more responsibility we have to be accountable for our roles and our position in delivering our game to the fans, because at the end of the day they’re the ones we’re playing for.”
Fizpatrick may have a chance to start for a second week in a row, with Latu suffering a neck spasm playing for Sydney Uni.
Paddy Ryan (elbow) and Bryce Hegarty (hamstring) are also all but out of the Waratahs’ final round match with the Force.
A handful of stars including Israel Folau missed training on Monday after a bout of gastro and the flu hit struck the playing group last week.
Halfback Nick Phipps is on the verge of a Super Rugby return, completing the full session with the Waratahs.
The Waratahs travel to Perth on Friday,taking on the Force on Saturday, kicking off at 5:45pm AWST and 7:45pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.