The Roar
The Roar


Tahs confirm Darren Coleman departure, search already underway for new coach

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
20th May, 2024
6786 Reads

NSW Rugby has confirmed Darren Coleman will leave the Waratahs head coaching role at the end of the season.

The Tahs have already begun their search for a successor with Rugby Australia’s high-performance director Peter Horne expected to be central to the decision. The Roar understands Junior Wallabies coach Nathan Grey is current favourite for the job.

Coleman will remain as coach for the final two games of a disappointing season where his team is placed last and out of finals contention. They have won just two of 10 games – both against the Crusaders.

In total, he’s won just 16 of 42 matches in charge at a win rate of 38 per cent – the same percentage Dave Rennie held as Wallabies coach, before he too was given his marching orders in early January, 2023.

Coleman will lead the team against Moana Pasifika at Go Media Stadium and the Queensland Reds at Allianz Stadium before finishing up.

Last month former Wallaby and Stan pundit Morgan Turinui urged the Tahs to chase Michael Cheika to replace Coleman from next season.


Cheika, who stood down as Argentina coach after last year’s World Cup, won the competition with the Tahs in 2014.

“I think it’s time that the Tahs get someone who can make a real difference and who quickly can build sustainable success,” Turinui said. “I think it’s time that Rugby Australia seriously considered bringing Michael Cheika into the Waratahs.

“He’s someone who understands Australian Rugby. He’s a successful international standard coach who has built provincial teams and is one of the best provincial-level coaches of all time … It might just be time.”

Coleman joined the NSW Waratahs as Head Coach in June 2021, replacing Rob Penney, and made the finals in 2022 and 2023.

CEO Paul Doorn said in a statement on Monday: “During his tenure, Darren has brought a deep connection to rugby in NSW, especially the Shute Shield, a passion for the game, and dedication to the team.

“His leadership of the program has always been very authentic, and he has built genuine connections with staff, players, and Waratah fans.

NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman (Photo by Getty Images).

NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman (Photo by Getty Images).


“Under Darren’s leadership, the NSW Waratahs have navigated through three challenging seasons, with resilience and determination being key aspects of his coaching.

“His instillment of ‘Tah Tough’ to the team’s on-field performances has been commendable, fostering a culture of teamwork and hard grind.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“The decision not to extend Darren’s contract was made after careful consideration and evaluation of the high-performance function, the team’s performance, and the future objectives of our organisation.

“The NSW Waratahs expresses our gratitude to Darren for his hard work and dedication throughout his time with our club and extends its best wishes to Darren for his future endeavours.

“We sincerely thank him for his contributions to the NSW Waratahs and rugby in NSW.”

Coleman was a popular figure with fans and media early in his tenure. On arrival he spoke of wanting to see the bars full at Moore Park because the team was playing exciting rugby.


He leant into personality and wanted players prepared to fight to the end.

“Talent is important but there is a lot of talent in that roster already. Obviously a bit of it is underdeveloped but if you’re going to be playing for the Waratahs next year under me you’ve got to have a no quit attitude,” said Coleman.

“You’ve got to be positive guy, you’ve got to want to have fun and bounce into work with a smile on your face and want to invest and be emotional about the team and what we’re doing.

“If you do those things you’ll get on well with me and that will benefit the team.

“I’ve never had trouble getting blokes together. I can organise a good time pretty quick.

“That whole fun aspect is massive. Where I sit now my office is above the team room and the players’ lounge and I feel I’ve got the joint humming when there’s laughter.

“If the boys are waking up out of bed and thinking ‘f–k I’ve got to go to training’ you know you’re not doing something right.


“If they’re coming in and they’ve got a spring in their step and they’re high fiving and laughing with practical jokes going on and banter, I reckon there’s a massive correlation between that and success.”

While he made a promising start, the Tahs have become a mess in the past 12 months. They have lost several of their star players – summed up last weekend when Tahs reject Ben Donaldson was instrumental in the Western Force beating them in Perth.

Skipper Jake Gordon has been seeking an early release while Wallabies such as Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ned Hanigan, Lachie Swinton and Izzy Perese have decided to quit the club.

Coleman will address the media on Tuesday afternoon.