NSW Waratahs at centre of brutal fan backlash after dismal first in Super Rugby nightmare

The fallout comes amid an unwanted first for the NSW Waratahs.

Departing NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has urged disgruntled fans not to walk out on the team in his final match in charge as a match-day protest looms following another dismal season. Coleman will guide the Tahs for the last time when they take on the Queensland Reds at Allianz Stadium in the Super Rugby Pacific competition on Friday night.

He was informed last week his contract would not be renewed following three years at the helm. It follows the season from hell in which the injury ravaged Tahs have managed just two wins from 13 starts. They will finish with the wooden spoon for the first time in a full Super Rugby season, regardless of the result against the Reds.

Pictured left is NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman and players from the Super Rugby side on right.
NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman is urging fans to stick by the team after a dreadful season in the Super Rugby Pacific competition. Pic: Getty

Upset fans have voiced their displeasure at the direction the club is headed, with many threatening to either exit after Friday night's curtain-raiser between Shute Shield clubs Northern Suburbs and Manly or give the entire night a miss. "The Shute Shield would be a good match. As for the other...well," one supporter wrote. "Sorry. Will be leaving after Shute Shield game."

One fan suggested "the games should be the other way around", with the Super Rugby fixture played as the curtain-raiser to the Shute Shield. "Obviously the $15 (ticket price) is to watch the (Manly) Marlins. You wouldn't pay to watch the Waratahs," one wrote. Another commented: "You seriously expect people to buy tickets to watch the Waratahs? You should be paying us. I'll go if you pay me $250 cash on arrival."

Coleman has heard the voices of discontent and is feeling the same pain as Tahs followers. He hopes rumours of a boycott are just that – rumours. "The support of our community clubs and, more directly, our Shute Shield support is vital," Coleman told Yahoo Sport Australia.

Seen here, NSW Waratahs players after a loss in Super Rugby.
The NSW Waratahs are set to claim their first wooden spoon in Super Rugby history. Pic: Getty

"They supply the lion's share of our players and this year there has been 10-plus Shute Shield players outside our original contracted group get an opportunity with the Waratahs in Super Rugby. I'm sorry they (the fans) feel that way and hope they stick around.

"But I understand this year’s results are hugely disappointing and for that I wholeheartedly apologise. The organisation is making steps to ensure it isn’t repeated. I know you will see a spirited and invested group of players trying their best in our last game of the season against the arch enemy."


Following last week's loss to Moana Pasifika, which ensured NSW would finish last, Coleman said of his team: "They feel pretty awful about where we are. They’re down on confidence. Some players have gone backwards under my leadership this season, which hurts me to say. We're just not a good football team."