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Gaffney : Foley not to blame for Waratahs woes

Waratahs assistant coach Alan Gaffney

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Article Published: Tuesday 29 May 2012|

Veteran Waratahs assistant coach Alan Gaffney says that Waratahs head coach Michael Foley is not to blame for the Waratahs woeful performance this season.

Gaffney has a vast amount of experience having coached Munster in Ireland, Saracens in England and Ireland to their 2009 Six Nations grand slam including Ireland's victory over Australia at the Rugby World cup.

Gaffney has defended Foley's performacne as coach in 2012 after he moved from forwards coach to head coach and said that the team has struggled due to injuries and inexperience.

"I don't know that Foles can do any more than what he's doing," Gaffney told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"He doesn't commit the penalty, he doesn't miss the tackle, he doesn't (make a mistake) at the breakdown, that's not him.

"I know coaches are assessed on win-loss records and that's what happens in life. Players don't seem to be, but coaches seem to be."

Gaffney didn't go as far as to say they there should be changes in the playing squad but said that 2012 had been a tough initiation for players like debutant fullback Bernard Foley, winger Tom Kingston and Atieli Pakalani.

"I don't know about changes in the squad but some of these young players are starting to come through," he said.

"Players who would never have been sighted off Nobbys Beach previously, (such as) Bernard Foley, a lot of these young boys are starting to hit their straps."

"They've still got a long way to go but maybe it is of benefit, maybe it's been a blessing in disguise."

Gaffney said that he has been impressed with Foley's strategic planning particularly ahead of matches against tougher opposition teams.

"I'm prepared to ask questions about me, that's not a problem at all, but if I had to look at Foles I think the way (he) has talked to the team and the way Foles has asked them to play against the opposition that I've seen this year, I couldn't fault him," he said.

"The game plan we went in with against the Stormers I thought was very solid the game plan we went in with for the Cheetahs was excellent."

Gaffney did however say that it was time the side learnt how to close out games.

"The players came out of that game (against the Cheetahs) very, very depressed about not having won the game but they've come back (and) they're in good spirits," he said.

"It's tough to take but we know we can play we've got to also learn how to close games out and win games and that's our problem at the present time."

The Waratahs have now lost their last five Super Rugby matches in a row.

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