Cooper not reaching for panic button - yet

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 15/10/2012

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Coach Colin Cooper sees no reason to hit the panic button, despite his Taranaki team falling to a comprehensive 33-17 loss to Wellington in the capital yesterday.

Taranaki were outplayed from the outset, made too many mistakes and lacked any real attacking ability until late in the game, when they ran in two tries.

The loss, on the eve of the NPC semifinals, does not bode well for Taranaki, although Cooper was not panicking.

“Things just didn't go our way,” was Cooper's initial reaction after the game, which drew only 5500 people to Westpac Stadium, despite conditions being near-perfect.

“Don't panic, you've just got to stay in control,” he said looking ahead to Saturday's semifinal.

“If there are changes to be made there will be changes.”

Taranaki could have snuck a home semifinal if they had won in Wellington for the first time in the NPC, but that scenario never looked likely. They now must travel to Christchurch for a playoff and a chance to make their first NPC top division final.

A big switch in performance will be needed because only the most optimistic Taranaki fan will believe they can win. “We've got to learn to hold the ball, absorb pressure and play,” Cooper said.

The loss also came at a cost, with No 8 Blade Thomson badly breaking his nose after a nasty collision with team-mate Timo Tutavaha.

Wing Frazier Climo also looks in doubt for the semifinal after he limped off, while Kane Barrett is also under an injury cloud.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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