Waratahs coach wants his side to harden up

Adrian Warren
Waratahs coach Rob Penney wants his side to harden up after their second straight Super Rugby loss

NSW Waratahs coach Rob Penney wants his team add some desire and resilience to their game after back-to-back losses at the start of their Super Rugby campaign.

The 32-12 loss to the Blues in Newcastle on Saturday was notable for a couple of unwanted additions to the Waratahs Super Rugby history book.

It was the first time they lost their first two games and the crowd of 7491 at McDonald Jones Stadium on a wet evening was their lowest home attendance in the competition.

The lineout got a tick from Penney, but the coach was critical of several other aspects of the Tahs game.

He expressed dissatisfaction with some of the Tahs kicking, scrummaging and defence, with his team leaking 11 tries across their first two games.

They now face a crucial early season intra-conference clash away to Melbourne Rebels, who are also pointless after two rounds, next Friday.

"We've got to show some resilience, first and foremost," said Penney when asked how his team would bounce back.

"We haven't been totally outplayed in both games, but I said we had to learn from last week and those soft moments that we were a little bit vulnerable and we've got to try and find a way to put some cement in there.

"We're all working hard to do that and we've just got to keep endeavouring to get better, we can't drop our lip,

"We can't hide from the fact that we weren't anywhere where we needed to be today, and step forward with the desire and accuracy we need to bring to the game."

He was also disappointed that NSW deviated from their game plan.

"I guess that's one of the big learnings that we've got to take away from it; when we've got a plan, we've got a strategy just be patient with it, we weren't tonight," Penney said.

The Waratahs exciting young winger Mark Nawaqanitawase was taken off after landing awkwardly in scoring his third try in two games, but he's expected to face Melbourne next week.

Penney also replaced young five-eighth Will Harrison after 55 minutes, shifting Kurtley Beale to that position from fullback, with Jack Madocks coming off the bench to play deep.

Former Parramatta NRL player Tepai Moeroa made his Super debut off the bench as a replacement for Nawaqanitawase but had few opportunities.