‘Embarrassed’ Waratahs coach sets sight on finals

NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman says he is ”embarrassed” by the club’s limp 33-24 loss to Moana Pasifika on Saturday, describing the performance as “shit.”

It was Moana’s only win of the Super Rugby Pacific season and a tough watch for the 19,219 fans who had come to Allianz Stadium for Michael Hooper’s final game in Sydney.

The Waratahs must now dust themselves off for Friday’s quarter-final against the Blues at Eden Park.

Watch the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad free, live and on demand

“It was bad on all fronts,” Coleman said.

“You’ve got that yucky feeling in the bottom of your stomach that you didn’t perform there how you wanted. It was bad for Hoops to finish like that. It was bad for momentum into playoffs that we played so badly.

“It’s hurting now… embarrassed now off the back of that.

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“We had such a good opportunity with such a good crowd and what would have been a good event to finish on a high. You see those juniors march in and you really want to win them over on the sport by having a team they look up to and we dish up that shit.”

Making matters worse, captain Jake Gordon will likely miss the quarter-final with concussion.

Fellow Wallabies Izaia Perese and Harry Johnson-Holmes are also in doubt with injuries although centre Lalakai Foketi is likely to return.

“We’re probably in a similar position to where I was when I took on the job. No-one gave us too much of a chance,” Coleman said.

“There was a lot of negative chat. I’ll figure out how I try and get us up. I’m hurting now. I’ll be ready to go by 6am tomorrow (Sunday).”

Hooper was at his gracious best after the match.

“Congrats to Moana,” the humble Hooper told Stan Sport’s Drew Mitchell.

“They shut us down really well, they put pressure on us from the get go.

“For them to come out, in a tough season, to get the win, congrats to them. They played with a lot of heart. Yeah, disappointing for us rolling into a quarter-final next week.

“We weren’t accurate, we missed a lot of areas in the game, but that’s the way it goes.”

The ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds also qualified for the quarter-finals with the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels missing out.


Friday 5.35pm AEST: Blues (3) vs Waratahs (6) in Auckland

Saturday 2.35pm AEST: Chiefs (1) vs Reds (8) in Hamilton

Saturday 5.05pm AEST: Crusaders (2) vs Drua (7) in Christchurch

Saturday 7.35pm AEST: Brumbies (4) vs Hurricanes (5) in Canberra

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