Super Rugby AU: Waratahs poor start heaps more pressure on under-siege coach Rob Penney

Gutted Waratahs coach Rob Penney says he’s willing to walk away from the team if it’s decided he’s not the right man to lead the struggling outfit forward.

The Tahs’ Super Rugby AU season went from bad to worse on Saturday night when they suffered a record 61-10 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra.

The drubbing came on the back of a record loss to the Queensland Reds in the season-opener a week earlier and left Penney and his players devastated.

The Tahs have conceded over 100 points in their first two games.Source:Getty Images

“There’s not enough words to express the disappointment and I’ve got a shattered group,” Penney said.

“The boys are desperate to do well. They’re proud young men and they’re really hurting – they’re broken.”

But after pre-season rumblings of discontent within the club, it has also left Penney vulnerable.

The Kiwi joined the Waratahs on a three-year deal last season, with the team in a rebuilding phase after losing more than 700 caps of experience.

He took a punt on youngsters like Junior Wallabies Angus Bell, Will Harrison and Mark Nawaqanitawase, who have made giant strides in the past year, but has also lost Kurtley Beale and, for this season at least, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, leaving a massive lack of experience.

It left him under pressure heading into the season and the Tahs’ results in the opening fortnight will only increase the scrutiny.

Penney wants to stand by his men, but he said he would walk if it was determined that was the best course of action for the team.

“I love these boys and I’m doing my best, if other people think I’m not the right person, I’m not going to stand in the way,” he said.

“It’s what’s right for the group that’s the important thing.”

Waratahs coach Rob Penney is under huge pressure after another massive defeat.Source:Getty Images

Penney said he still believed in the group.

“There’s a lot of ability there. The scoreline was a shattering one for everybody and you can’t hide from that,” he said.

“It’s our problem, our issue and we’ve got to own it. But we’ve got to be careful (about how we handle the players). They’re good boys, they’re proud boys and they’re hurting big time.

“There’d be people out there saying we’re not hard enough on them but you can’t whip a dog when it’s down; the last thing you want to do is dent any confidence that they do have.

“We care about them – they’re humans first and rugby players second and bloody good rugby players, they’ll bounce (back).”

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