Waratahs coach ready to 'poke the bear'

Nov 1, 2017 - 6:11 AM NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson feels invigorated after being handed added freedom to "poke the bear" after a disappointing 2017 Super Rugby season.

The Waratahs finished third last with just four wins and conceded 522 points in 15 games, their worst defensive display in the 21-year-old competition.

Champions in 2014, the Tahs also failed to make the finals for the first time in five seasons, prompting chief executive Andrew Hore to commission an external review of the side's performance.

"There's 144 years of history here," Hore said when asked on Wednesday why the club resorted to such lengths to try to identify the Waratahs' problem.

"It's about attitude and performance and I think we all felt they weren't always giving their best. That pisses people off."

The review, conducted by sports administrator Dirk Melton, found "defence, discipline and fitness" as the key problem areas.

As such, the franchise has opted against replacing defence coach Nathan Grey - who is now working fulltime with the Wallabies under NSW's 2014 title-winning mentor Michael Cheika - and handed Gibson full responsibility for the specialist role.

"Daryl will be the defence coach. Defence is always a good area of the game for the head coach," Hore said.

The Waratahs have appointed Northern Suburbs coach Simon Cron as an assistant to Gibson, a former All Black centre who will relish having Wallabies midfield maestro Kurtley Beale back at the Tahs after a season in the English Premiership with Wasps.

"A coach is always under pressure regarding performance," Hore said.

"But we've made it clear that there are a number of other issues around the team that we needed to address.

"We've made those changes and it's up to Daryl to take those changes and make every post a winner.

"He's growing as a coach and he's a good coach and he's got the ability. He feels invigorated (by the changes and added responsibility).

"I think he's really enjoying it - the chance to poke the bear."

Source: AAP

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