Rugby Union

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Foley willing to play second fiddle at Tahs despite players' backing

WARATAHS coach Michael Foley says he would consider returning to an assistant coaching role with NSW if that scenario were put to him by officials in coming weeks.

As senior players threw their support behind their head coach, Foley continued to deflect speculation about his future with the Waratahs following the squad's fifth straight loss at the weekend.

He said it would be ''inappropriate'' for him to appear to be focusing on anything but the Waratahs game against the Hurricanes on Saturday. However, he did say he would consider any proposal put to him about the club's coaching structure.

''I've got a great love of coaching and you always consider situations, whether it's with the Tahs or with somebody else that might make an offer to you, you consider the opportunity to work with the players and within the organisation,'' Foley said.

''At this point in time I think the players we have here I couldn't be happier to be working with, and any other suggestion down the track would be taken into consideration. For me, right now the Hurricanes game is the only thing that matters.''

Pressed further about whether he believed he was the person best equipped to lead the squad, Foley said: ''For me to make a comment like that would be inappropriate. I think what I've got to do is make sure we give a performance this weekend that's reflective of the effort that's been put in by the players.''


Captain Rocky Elsom and senior players Benn Robinson and Berrick Barnes each said Foley had the support of his players.

''In any kind of situation, when you're going through tough times, the first thing they want to do is to pass pressure onto other people, and it's usually the coach first and foremost,'' Barnes said.

''We as the players have got to get a win for him and we've got to get a win for ourselves, more importantly, and for the fans. I don't buy into any of this sort of crap that's continually said, it's the age-old thing, as soon as anything goes wrong, blame the coach.''

Elsom said leadership speculation went with the territory if a team was not playing at its best, while Robinson said it was natural to look within the squad for answers to the slump.

''We've got 100 per cent support behind Foles, but for us, all issues aside, only the team can decide our future going forward,'' he said.

Frustration and fatigue is telling within the squad. Further evidence of that was Barnes's on-field tantrum towards the end of the Cheetahs match, when he wasn't given the ball for an attempt at a drop goal.

''When you get this [far] in the season and you can't seem to get a win, I just wanted the ball there and just wasn't able to get it and that's life sometimes,'' Barnes said.

''There's no hard feelings or anything about what happened, it's just sometimes when you're in the moment in that situation you lose your cool a bit.''