Lagging Tahs refuse to ‘throw baby out with bath water’
Waratahs coach Rob Penney declared his players are hellbent on changing the poor perception of the team after four losses in five games.
Penney opted against mass changes for Sunday's clash against the Brumbies, after the Tahs were hammered by the Chiefs last Friday, instead only bringing back captain Rob Simmons and Mark Nawaqanitawase who were sidelined with injury in round six.
"You've got two ways of handling it," Penney said.
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"We're not in a great situation performance-wise so you can either throw the baby out with the bath water and ignore the good things that aren't being seen but we know are happening and replace a lot of the boys, or you can show faith in the group who we've been working with intimately.
"And that's what we've decided to do; persevere.
"The boys feel it more than anybody. Us as staff members get disappointed, the group really cares about their performance and how they're perceived and the perception isn't great at the moment and we understand why.
"We're the only ones who can fix it and the players are right at the cutting edge of leading that change."
Penney was scathing of the Tahs' poor handling and errors in the loss to the Chiefs, but is positive after studying the match this week.
"It was a forthright review, and there's nothing in it which is impossible for us to fix," he said.
Flanker Michael Hooper raised opposition breakdown infringements this week as working against NSW, and the Tahs have sent video clips to referee Angus Gardner, who presided over their 51-14 loss to the Chiefs last weekend.
"We're trying to do things legally and not getting any rewards for it," Penney said.
"It will be interesting the feedback we get back from Angus, he's been sent some footage, just to either reinforce our thinking or go, 'No we have to make some alterations'.
"The feedback we're getting from referees is that we're compliant which is good, and I guess what Hoops is alluding to is that some teams aren't and they're getting rewarded for it.
"A wise man once said to me, '50-50 calls generally end up being 50-50', we're just waiting for our 50 to turn up."
15 Kurtley Beale 14. Jack Maddocks 13. Alex Newsome 12. Karmichael Hunt 11. Mark Nawaqanitawase 10. Will Harrison 9. Mitch Short 8. Jack Dempsey 7. Michael Hooper 6. Lachlan Swinton 5. Rob Simmons (captain) 4. Tom Staniforth 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes 2. Damien Fitzpatrick 1. Angus Bell.
Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel 17. Tom Robertson 18. Tetera Faulkner 19. Jed Holloway 20. Patrick Tafa 21. Michael McDonald 22. Lalakai Foketi 23. James Ramm.