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It's broke, time to fix it, says downhearted Palu

Feeling blue ... dejected Waratahs contemplated Saturday's defeat, their sixth in a row, to the Hurricanes at Allianz ...

Feeling blue ... dejected Waratahs contemplated Saturday's defeat, their sixth in a row, to the Hurricanes at Allianz Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

A FOUR-WEEK rest has morphed into a month of soul-searching for the Waratahs after veteran forward Wycliff Palu pleaded with his teammates to turn the microscopes on themselves after the side's 10th loss this season.

A desperately frustrated Palu, who played his first full game of the season against the Hurricanes on Saturday night, made the appeal as the team stood in a huddle moments after the bell sounded on the Waratahs' sixth straight loss.

''I just said [that] individually we have just got to change,'' the Test No.8 said. ''I think as a team we are not going too bad, just individual errors cost us at crucial times.

''Including myself, we have to go back and probably change what we are doing, whether it is preparation-wise or whatever it is. If we don't change, we are just going to keep doing the same thing.''

The message hit home for Palu's Wallabies teammate Adam Ashley-Cooper, who said he was finding it difficult to hold his head up after the 21-point loss.

''Drew [Mitchell] said a few things, Benny [Robinson] said a few things and 'Cliffy' then said we need to change something,'' Ashley-Cooper said.

''Whatever we do in our preparation, we need to change. That was a really good point from him, reaching out to the group and asking them to change something in their preparation that's going to make a difference … so when we come back and have our two last games, there's something there.''

Both men, senior squad members and experienced Test players, were at a loss to explain why the Waratahs' hard work in training was not paying off on the field.

''We are applying ourselves, there is a great deal of effort,'' Ashley-Cooper said. ''The preparation is great, the effort out on the field you can see is there. It is the execution, we are letting ourselves down with skill-based errors and that's not good enough at this level.''

Palu also came down hard on their execution of the basics.

''I think the way we attack we are pretty positive,'' he said. ''I feel we are playing good rugby, but again, simple dropped passes and things like that, and our defence in the last two weeks hasn't been up to it. In the past that was one of our strengths.''

While the break gives the players breathing space and time to think, coach Michael Foley and other Waratahs officials appear to be staring at month-long auditions for their jobs.

Waratahs Rugby chairman Edwin Zemancheff said yesterday the board would use the Test break and round-15 bye to assess the performance of all aspects of the club and its business and sporting operations.

The board has issued no official summonses to Foley or chief executive Jason Allen yet, but details are expected in the coming week.

At least for the next few weeks there is no threat of administrative fallout affecting the Waratahs' performance. For the 11 players in the Wallabies squad there exist opportunities. For the others, at the least, there is a circuit-breaker.

Foley conceded after the game on Saturday night that sustained speculation about his own job and the squad's woes had seeped into the side's psyche after a disastrous tour to South Africa.

''I think undoubtedly there are certain things that would shift people's thoughts,'' he said.

''I think it probably happens more in the moment rather than going into the game - maybe a decision is made on the back of some of that pressure … it's hard to know.

''There's definitely been a fair bit of [scrutiny]. Coming back from South Africa without a win was extremely frustrating for us and some of the commentary around the team, the team accepts the criticism well and truly, but [some of it] probably is a little bit distracting.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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