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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 Stadium.

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.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
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