Leaving Nelson following a 43-25 loss, NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney insisted only minor adjustments were required as they set their sights on Round 2.Showing plenty of character and a willingness to compete for the full 80 minutes, it’s clear that staying in the contest will not be an issue in 2020.
Happy with the positives seen, Penney knows his team just needs time to refine their attacking and defensive processes to ensure they can reach their collective potential.
“I think we showed a bit of character when it was 19-all in the second half and it could have blown out given who they brought on off the bench,” said Penney.
“There were some really positive moments but there a quite a few areas that we need to tidy up.”
Confident the signs are there for how he wants the side to apply themselves, Penney says learning how to tweak their attacking style to different defensive units will help when they are trying to capitalise on momentum.
“We are going through a learning process, so those sorts of things are highlighted even further when we run into the wrong attacking shapes.
“When we run into the wrong areas and play passes to players in worse positions, [our] game struggles a bit.”
Penney was happy with how debutants Mark Nawaqanitawase and Will Harrison handled themselves, with their performances reflective of how close the side is to getting there.
“These young boys are still finding their feet, but he [Nawaqanitawase] had an outstanding second half and I would put those tries down to the team’s efforts”
Similarly, Harrison’s ability to handle such a difficult position in an intense environment will be vital for the team’s improvement over time.
“I thought he acquitted himself really well, it’s a really difficult position to play with a lot of the critical decision-making happening around you.
“With his temperament, the physical aspects [of defending at No.10] he never shirks anything there, and he just needs time to settle and he will improve greatly over time”
Looking to use this week to build upon the combinations heading into the clash against the Blues, Penney is happy the squad is getting to test themselves early on.
“In terms of their attacking prowess and the physical nature that they will bring, it will be a very similar game style to the Crusaders”
Saturday’s match against the Blues will be the side’s first home match of the 2020 season.