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Wallabies coaches on hand for Waratahs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/04/2017 Darren Walton

Wallabies skills coach Mick Byrne has challenged the NSW Waratahs to wipe the slate clean in a last-ditch bid to push for the Super Rugby finals.

Byrne and Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma were conspicuous observers at NSW training on Thursday as the Waratahs try desperately to pick up the pieces from last week's dismal loss to the Kings.

Admitting to being low on confidence, the lack of belief has shown in the Tahs' two-from-eight start to the season.

Daryl Gibson's men have delivered error-riddled performances on a weekly basis with fundamental catch-and-pass skills bringing the 2014 champions undone.

It's not just poor attack letting them down, though, with the Waratahs heading in to Saturday night's grudge match with Queensland ranked second-last for tackle attempts in 2017.

The Waratahs are missing one in five tackles and Byrnes took a front-row view as Gibson put his charges through a series of one-on-one defensive routines.

Former long-time All Blacks skills coach Byrne says all was not lost for the Tahs - or Australia's other four provincial outfits - who are a collective none from 15 against New Zealand opposition this campaign.

"They'll obviously be disappointed with the outcomes for their teams," Byrne said.

"You can see sometimes that when you get to this level and things aren't going well, sometimes they're trying too hard.

"That sounds like a cop-out, but it's not.

"Sometimes you get distracted by trying too hard and you get away from your own game.

"I'll be saying to these blokes: 'You are the best players, focus on you being the best players on the ground and the others will come in behind you. Don't worry about what's going on around you'."

A premiership-winning AFL ruckman with Hawthorn in 1983, Byrne says it is important the Waratahs focused on their "processes, not the outcome" - and didn't give up.

"They say a week is a long time in sport and it is," Byrne said.

"In competitive team sport that's what you live for; the fact you've got another week.

"That's the challenge; to wipe the slate clean - win or lose.

"Most successful players and most successful teams wipe the slate clean post-game - win, lose or draw - and get on and get their routines right.

"That's the beauty of team sport and especially the way the conferences are set up; one of the Australian teams are going to play finals this year and that's what we should be striving for.

"And once finals start, as the saying goes, anything could happen."

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