Waratahs sack coach after dire Super Rugby season

Coach Darren Coleman has been sacked by the NSW Waratahs but will see out the Super Rugby Pacific season.

With just two wins from 12 matches and sitting in last place, the Waratahs announced Coleman's third season at the helm would be his last.

He will coach the remaining two rounds against Moana Pasifika in Auckland and the Queensland Reds at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

After a horror stint under Rob Penney, Coleman took the Waratahs to the quarter-finals in 2022 and 2023 but the injury-ravaged side has struggled badly this season.

A number of players have already announced their departure at the end of the current campaign while captain Jake Gordon sought a release from his contract that was denied by Rugby Australia.

Darren Coleman.
Coleman led the Waratahs to the quarter-finals in 2022 and '23 but has paid the price for this year. (Jason O'BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

Waratahs boss Paul Doorn, who called a press conference with Coleman for Tuesday, acknowledged the coach's contribution to the club.

"During his tenure, Darren has brought a deep connection to rugby in NSW, especially the Shute Shield, a passion for the game, and dedication to the team," Doorn said in a statement.

"His leadership of the program has always been very authentic, and he has built genuine connections with staff, players and Waratah fans.
"His instilment of 'Tah Tough' to the team's on-field performances has been commendable, fostering a culture of teamwork and hard grind.

"The decision not to extend Darren's contract was made after careful consideration and evaluation of the high-performance function, the team's performance, and the future objectives of our organisation."

The club said they had started the process to find Coleman's replacement.

Options include former Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who led the team to the Super title in 2014, current NSW assistant and Australia A coach Jason Gilmore, and Fiji World Cup mentor Simon Raiwalui, although he joined World Rugby in a pathways role following the France tournament.

Former Waratahs centre Nathan Grey, the Australia under-20 coach, could be another with interest in the job.

Following their 27-7 loss to the Western Force in Perth last Saturday night, Coleman said he hoped to rally the players for their final two games to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Waratahs (12 points) can leapfrog 11th-placed Moana Pasifika (14 points) when they face off next Saturday.

The 10th-placed Crusaders (15 points) are also within touching distance of the Waratahs.

"No one wants that wooden spoon, so we'll busting our arse to finish with two more wins and perform better than we did (against the Force)," Coleman said after the match.