SYDNEY (Reuters) - New South Wales Waratahs coach Rob Penney said there was plenty of 'soul searching' going on at the club after they succumbed to a fourth successive defeat from the start of the Super Rugby AU season.
The 2014 Super Rugby champions were beaten 33-14 by the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night and have now conceded 155 points and 19 tries in the five-team domestic competition.
Some 19 internationals have left the Waratahs over the last two years and Penney said the inexperienced players left behind were working hard to improve the situation.
"We're a young group growing and looking to get better," Penney told reporters in Melbourne.
"We could live in a dark hole for a few days if we let ourselves but we've got to bounce quickly as we've got a big game at home.
"We've got to take the learnings and apply them to the games."
The Waratahs return to Sydney next Saturday for a return match with the in-form Queensland Reds, who won the opening-round meeting between the traditional rivals 41-7 in Brisbane last month.
Penney has previously said that he would walk away from his job if club management decide he is not the right man to take the Waratahs forward.
There appears to be an acknowledgement in New South Wales rugby circles, however, that a coaching change would not necessarily improve matters.
"As an organisation there is a lot of soul searching going on," New Zealander Penney said.
"But I think the key thing is these boys are working really hard and they're proud of who they represent. They take the criticism on the chin, as we all do. But we have to retain a positive mindset."
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Jane Wardell)