Coach Coleman to leave Waratahs at end of season

rugby20 May 2024 08:35| © Reuters
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Darren Coleman © Getty Images

New South Wales Waratahs coach Darren Coleman will leave the struggling Super Rugby side when his contract expires at the end of the season, the Waratahs said on Monday.

Coleman took over the Sydney-based team three years ago and turned fortunes around after the Waratahs had suffered the ignominy of a winless season in 2021.

Sixth place in the first two seasons of Super Rugby Pacific raised expectations but Coleman's side now sit bottom of the standings after 10 losses from 12 matches with two games of the regular season remaining.

"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," chief executive Paul 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.

"The Waratahs expresses our gratitude to Darren for his hard work and dedication throughout his time with our club and extends its best wishes to Darren for his future endeavours."

The Waratahs, who agreed to cede control of their high performance programme to Rugby Australia last November, said the process to find a replacement for Coleman had commenced.

Super Rugby champions in 2014 under Michael Cheika, the Waratahs are traditionally the best-resourced of Australia's five Super Rugby teams and moved in as co-tenants of the rebuilt Sydney Football Stadium in 2023.

Although the Waratahs have played some attractive rugby, the state-of-the-art stadium has rarely been more than half full for rugby union matches with the team failing to put together consistent runs of results.

Coleman has had to deal with an injury crisis among his forwards this season with every single front-rower under contract in his squad – seven props and four hookers – unavailable for last week's 27-7 loss to Western Force.

That defeat, orchestrated by former Waratahs flyhalf Ben Donaldson, also raised questions about decisions over talent retention at the club.