NSW coach Michael Foley wants his team to show patience and finish off opportunities when they resume their sputtering Super Rugby campaign after a bye week.
A 30-13 loss to the high-flying Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday represented a fourth loss in six games for NSW under new coach Foley.
Despite their inconsistency NSW, who are tenth on the overall ladder, are still within striking distance of the Australian conference leaders, the Brumbies.
The Waratahs are third in the Australian conference, level on points with defending champions Queensland, who are also five points off the conference lead.
Their four-point bye could potentially bring them to within one point of the Brumbies, if the latter lose to the Reds in Brisbane on Friday.
Against the Highlanders, NSW failed to pick up a bonus point for the first time this season.
The game underlined the frustrating start to the season made by NSW, who again mixed strong and weak passages of play.
They dominated the Chiefs in the first half but trailed 13-10 at the break and were outplayed and outscored 17-3 in the second term.
NSW have lost two games by one point and another by four.
“We haven’t always got the results. We’re very very keen to get that solved,” Foley told AAP.
“We can’t be satisfied with playing to be competitive.
“We certainly have been competitive, it’s just a matter of finishing, understanding that we’re going to be a threat.
“We’re going to create and we’ve got to finish it off.”
Against the Highlanders, NSW created several scoring chances, but blew most of them through mistakes and impatience.
“We had possession for long periods of time and forced them to make a lot of tackles, but we weren’t ticking the scoreboard over,” Foley said.
“The lesson to learn out of it is that when you start to build pressure, to have patience with the ball is crucial.”
Of his six long-term injured players, Foley expects only captain and blindside flanker Rocky Elsom to be available in the near future.
He hopes Elsom will be ready to make his season debut the week after the bye against the Force in Perth, or the following round at home to Melbourne.