Waratahs rugby captain Benn Robinson says that he is shocked at former coach Michael Foley's decision to leave the Waratahs and join the Western Force.
Robinson said that he has no knowledge of a split between players who wanted Foley to leave but is adamant that the Waratahs' senior players should be given a say on his replacement as coach.
The prop has rejected suggestions that Foley left due to a rift in the camp and said that every player he had spoken to, including the senior's, were frustrated at the behind-the-scenes drama at Waratahs headquarters. "It's a big shock to the players," he told AAP. "I spoke to 'Foles' on the phone and I think he addressed most the players individually."
"I think after recent weeks and all the chat going back and forth, from the players' point of view it's very disappointing to lose a coach of his calibre …"
"The players I spoke to had full support for Foles. To lose a coach of his calibre is very disappointing."
Robinsons said that Foley's demise had hit the younger players the hardest of all.
"It's been challenging," he said. "For the younger players coming through, this is their first experience being involved with the Waratahs, and it's not how it normally is."
"It's been a tough, challenging year with 'Webby' [Chris Webb, football manager] going and now Foles and Edwin [Zemancheff, chairman] going.
"I think the next few months will be very crucial for us. Things have been a bit rattled the last few months with speculation going back and forth."
The Wallaby prop said that he would ask for the players to be involved in the selection of Foley's successor.
"It'd be nice for [the Tahs administration] to speak to a few of the key players who might have a fair say or fair influence on how the team should be moving forward," a clearly angered Robinson said.
"I think it'd be good to have a few players involved in that process. I'd like to have at least word or a few words about certain issues there as well."
Robinson added that it was imperative that the new coach was appointed sooner rather than later in order to avoid a situation like the Force who played for months without a coach.
"For us now, we need to move on and as quickly as possible get a new coach in and hope the transition is pretty seamless," Robinson said.
'The worst thing we can do is to harp on it, be disappointed and be fractured for the next few months. We need to move on pretty quickly.
"You get an understanding early of where they want the team to go over the next period and making sure all the players are on the same page."
Former Stade Francais coach Michael Cheika is understood to be the frontrunner for the head coaching job.