Sacked Waratahs coach sympathises with Melbourne Rebels

Darren Walton |

Sacked Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has nothing but sympathy for the Melbourne Rebels.
Sacked Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has nothing but sympathy for the Melbourne Rebels.

Even outgoing NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman, punted for missing the finals for the first time in his three-year tenure, reckons the Melbourne Rebels have been harshly treated.

A week before making their maiden finals appearance, the cash-strapped Rebels were told on Thursday they’d been cut from the 2025 Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Coleman only has sympathy for Melbourne counterpart Kevin Foote and his Rebels players and staff.

“It puts it in perspective. Like I controlled my destiny and I just wasn’t good enough to get the team where it needed to be,” Coleman said.

“Whereas I genuinely feel for Kevin and his staff down there.

“They’ve had a good year, and to be where they are on the ladder and going into finals off the back of the turbulence they’ve had to push through is a mark of particularly his leadership and the boys down there to stay with the task.

“I’ve got nothing but strong thoughts and best wishes for those guys. I know most of them pretty well, the coaches and a lot of the players I know well as well.

“They’re all good men, so I’m confident over time they’ll find jobs again, but it’s a sad situation.”

Sitting sixth ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Fiji Drua in Lautoka, the Rebels can finish anywhere from sixth to eighth depending on results of this week’s last-round matches.

They are guaranteed finals football for the first time before being cut adrift.

Like his wooden-spoon Waratahs against Queensland on Friday night, Coleman believes the Rebels could react in “one of two ways”.

But he suspects their brutal treatment will galvanise the Rebels and fire them up.

“Like I look at us tomorrow, we’ve got a couple of options here – to just fizzle out and say it doesn’t mean anything this game, or to leave giving it our all,” Coleman said.

“They’ve got two weeks to get up now for their first semi game. They’ve got enough good players and Kevin (and) his staff are smart enough that I reckon they’ll draw on that bit of emotion.

“It might even be a bit of ‘up you’ to the decision-makers on that as well.

“I’m not sure how they’ll use that, but they’ll use it well.”