Textbook thrashing sets Waratahs coach to boil
Furious ... Waratahs coach Michael Cheika. Photo: Brendan Esposito
A furious Michael Cheika said there were "no excuses" for the Waratahs' 35-6 loss to stand-out Australian conference leaders the Brumbies on Saturday night.
Cheika said he felt sick watching the team be shut down by Jake White's impressive looking side but was most disappointed by the way NSW had let themselves down.
"No excuses, we have good enough players to be in that contest – I'm not going to say to win [that contest] because the Brumbies are a good team – but our players are good enough to make that a contest," he said.
Cheika singled out the side's apparent reluctance to do enough work off the ball as a persistent problem. It was identified after the Waratahs' win over Melbourne last week but reared its head again as the visitors struggled to punch holes in the Brumbies defence.
"We were playing our attacking game but the shape wasn't set up right because guys weren't getting into position quick enough," he said.
"That's why we didn't really get a chances to make many breaks; we probably only made two or three line breaks and we've been making a lot more in games. The opposition has good defence too, so it squeezes us a lot more. That's the combination of things."
Cheika also raised questions about the first three penalties that went against NSW and gave the Brumbies a 9-0 lead, but said the visitors should have been able to come back from that deficit.
Asked whether their inability to score a try in the game or any points at all in the second half signalled problems with the Waratahs' attacking game plan, he bristled and appealed for a long-term view.
"Anyone who is looking for a short-term fix is in the wrong game," Cheika said.
"This is about being sure about what we're doing, being sure about who we are and running with it, and anyone who can't go with that, whether they be in the team or looking from the outside, is not going to get any satisfaction."
A gutted Dave Dennis said the team had not delivered on the things they had talked about all week.
"We've just got to stress that the scoreboard's not important for us at this stage – our performance is more relevant," the Waratahs captain said.
"If we lost tonight but worked hard off the ball like we said we were going to do, did the things we said we were going to do, it'd be a different feeling if we still got done.
"Tonight we were beaten on the scoreboard and we were beaten around the field as well in terms of what we said we were going to do."