Waratahs coach hits back at 'boring' tag - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs coach hits back at 'boring' tag

By David Beniuk 16/03/2009 08:47:54 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs coach Chris Hickey has hit back at his critics, including former Wallaby Glen Ella, denying his men play boring rugby.

The Waratahs woke up on Monday to former Australian fullback and Wallabies assistant Ella attacking their coaching staff for an inability to get five-eighth Kurtley Beale to unleash the star-studded NSW backline.

The criticism came on top of Beale finding himself in the firing line following the Waratahs' 21-11 Super 14 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra last Friday, with one commentator describing the 20-year-old playmaker as a "protected species".

Hickey, in his first season as NSW mentor, said Ella should understand that a team needs to develop.

"Everyone's entitled to an opinion and there's plenty of them around, that's for sure, particularly from ex-coaches," Hickey told reporters.

"We're happy with the progress that we're making, we see that our game's developing and, as Glen would know from his coaching experience, these things don't happen overnight."

And the NSW coach challenged perceptions his side was playing boring, non-expansive rugby.

"It's interesting because when you actually go through and analyse that game (against the Brumbies), our outside backs had more possession than the Brumbies outside backs and our wingers had more possession than the Brumbies wingers, so it's a perception that some people have but it's not necessarily reality."

Expectation has followed Beale's rise to Super rugby, but the young linchpin is yet to consistently stamp his authority on the tournament.

Hickey conceded the criticism is getting to Beale, but remains adamant he will stick by his besieged five-eighth.

"It's not easy for a 20-year-old but he understands where we're coming from and he understands that he's got the full support of the team and I think that's what really counts for him," Hickey said.

"It's a work in progress and we're happy with the progress that Kurtley's making in terms of his game development.

"A lot of people forget that people like him and young Christian Lealiifano and Quade Cooper, they're only 19 or 20 years of age so there's a lot of responsibility for them they're running Super 14 teams.

"Kurtley will be our starting five-eighth against the Crusaders (on Saturday)."

Star winger Lote Tuqiri denied he was frustrated waiting for the ball to come wide.

"We're playing all right, we're one loss from five starts so I wouldn't say frustrated, we're scoring points and we're winning," he said.

Tuqiri also rushed to Beale's defence.

"He's playing to a certain style ... I don't know where that (criticism's) coming from."

Waratahs hooker Adam Freier will undergo surgery on Tuesday after the bicep tendon in his arm was detached, ruling him out for the season.

But in better news for the side, Al Baxter is likely to return from a calf injury at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, while fellow prop Sekope Kepu could make a return to club rugby as early as this weekend.

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