Frustrated coach Daryl Gibson is "inevitably" sharpening the axe after presiding over the NSW Waratahs' worst-ever start to a Super Rugby season.
NSW Waratahs assistant coach Daryl Gibson.
Gibson was left scratching his head and searching for answers after the Waratahs' set-piece disintegrated in a 28-12 capitulation to the Brumbies on Saturday night.
"We lost four lineouts in the second spell, failed to convert any pressure into any points. The scrum late on came under pressure and we conceded some penalties," Gibson said.
"So it's disappointing. We can't continue to shoot ourselves in the foot each week through our own inaccuracies and (through) us succumbing to the pressure at set-piece time."
The Waratahs' third straight defeat, after a round-one win over the Western Force, left the 2014 champions fourth in the Australian conference - and 16th overall - heading into Saturday night's must-win derby against the Rebels in Melbourne.
"That puts us into a real hole. We're in a real battle, again," Gibson lamented.
"That's down to our own doing, really, so we've got no one else to blame except ourselves."
The fed-up coach said personnel changes were certain.
"Obviously things aren't working currently so we're going to have to really look at what we need to change to get them working, getting them to click," he said.
"At the moment, it's an execution problem. We've got a set game plan but we're just struggling to get that in to play."
Despite wanting to play stylish ball-in-hand rugby, the Waratahs are a shadow of the side that won the title three years ago without influential midfielder Kurtley Beale and playmaker Bernard Foley.
Foley was once again a late scratching from the Brumbies clash as he continues to recover from a pre-season head knock.
A likely season-ending ankle injury to in-form flanker Jack Dempsey only added to the woes.
"It doesn't look good for him. At the moment, best-case potentially is eight to 12 weeks so unfortunately that could be the season for him," Gibson said after Dempsey landed awkwardly in a tackle following his second-half break at Allianz Stadium.
"He's off for an MRI but it swelled up pretty quickly, which is a good indication that there is something serious going on there."