JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Cheika check it, check it out. Work, work it, work the Tahs out


Matthew Burke

G'day fellas … Waratahs coach Michael Cheika greets the players at the press conference announcing his signing.

G'day fellas … Waratahs coach Michael Cheika greets the players at the press conference announcing his signing. Photo: Getty Images

There are big expectations on Michael Cheika but the first thing the new coach has to do at the Waratahs is win over the players.

Bravo to the NSW Rugby Union. Firstly, for the appointment of Cheika and, secondly, for taking the time to make the important decision and not operate under duress from all sorts of outside influences. Much has been written about Cheika's success coaching overseas and what he will bring to the Waratahs. It seems like he has an uncanny ability to win over the players from his efforts elsewhere.

From all reports, the players had an influence on the appointment of the new coach. The ultimate decision came form the board, but perhaps all the players knew that the man who is supposed to lead them to glory was limited by a short coaching career. His CV looks good - Padova, Randwick then European glory at Leinster with a star-studded group that had previously failed to reach the ultimate goal of winning the Heineken Cup, before a inauspicious stint at Stade Francais.

My advice to the players is they should try and find out as much information about the man who is going to soon take charge. Perhaps the players should dive into the archives of NSWRU to make a more informed decision on what approach they should have when they take to the training pitch.

I played against Cheika in club rugby. In an illustrious team at Randwick, he held his own and often gave more than the others. He was an uncompromising No.8 who would not take a backward step. He held the captain's armband and was part of seven club premierships.

The players will probably feel like they're stepping into a time warp when they encounter Cheika for the first time at the start of pre-season training. He has already spoken about being more dogged and being more old school on the field but it starts on the training paddock where everyone comes as an equal.

The biggest challenge for the incoming coach will be his ability to manage the players. To be more specific, manage the egos. I am not saying there are prima donnas running around at the Waratahs but what he needs to do is integrate the senior and junior members of this outfit. The way to get a club flowing seamlessly is to make sure there is a respect for the hierarchy of the players but making sure the weight is being pulled equally by all members of the team.

Alan Gaffney has already introduced a club captain, Pat McCutcheon, to uphold the values of what is needed to keep people grounded. This could be called an integrity officer, one who ensures the standards are being upheld by all. This can't be a token position. Even though its introduced by the management, it has to be run by the players.

When Cheika took over the role at Leinster in Ireland, it was described it as a calculated punt. It took some time to win a trophy but silverware was adorned in the trophy cabinet. The team was full of stars such as the notable Brian O'Driscoll, but however much the individuals pushed, the collective seemed to always fall short. Sounds familiar doesn't it? What we did see from that famous team was their ability to believe in themselves and play attacking rugby when it was needed and then understand how to play tight.

It all sounds very simple but stealing some ideas that work in Britain may just give another dimension to this NSW team that has been playing with the fear of failure. Gaffney has worked with Cheika and it looks like that will continue. I have spoken about the importance of his contribution to this team however little we saw of it this season.

Surely Cheika must believe in how far this team can go with the talent on offer. It would be great to be a part of the first week of training. There will be renewed enthusiasm and a clean slate to mould a team that could deliver a style of play that would allow the players enjoy their rugby again and gets Tahs fans back through the turnstiles.

Twitter -@burkey710

3 comments so far

  • Player power has killed the Tahs in the past and if winning them over is Chieka's first prioity, then he is just as bad as the others that have failed. Its a fine line in management, but the thing that we do know is that a team full of stars doing their own thing, is not a star team. Get them under control and demand performance.

    Date and time
    September 24, 2012, 1:07PM
    • I'll renew my membership with the Tahs because I'm confident that Cheika will change the spirit of the team. I expect that the team plays with more courage that before (like Queensland players), winning more games, not only at home, also away games. And it is possible with more confidence and team spirit. The players needs to feel the jersey more than other thing. Needs to be proud to play for NSW. Cheika will do it, I hope so. Otherwise, I'll no pay another membership by 2014.

      Date and time
      September 24, 2012, 1:49PM
      • "A champion team will beat a team of champions". What is missing from Tahland? T.E.A.M. There is no "I" in team, not even a 'me' in it. It's about the collective performance. To excel, Chieks needs to tap into the quality of the squad and have them commiting their body, their performance, their sacrifice for the good of the team and not the good of their salary or Wallaby contract.

        It is my firm belief he is about to a 'bring back the shoe' and remove the individualism. FIne having 'x-factor' but you have to have 100% Team Factor first and then ice it with some x-factor to break open the game. At the moment, there's been x and z factor but no team.

        Date and time
        September 24, 2012, 3:42PM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Rugby Internationals 2014

        Round 1
        Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
        FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
        NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
        AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
        ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
        USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
        CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
        FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
        NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
        AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
        Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
        RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
        CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
        ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
        USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
        FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
        JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
        AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
        NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
        RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
        USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
        RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
        BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
        USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
        ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
        ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
        WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
        FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
        IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
        SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
        ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
        ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
        WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
        SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
        FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
        Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
        IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
        ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
        SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
        IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
        WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
        ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
        FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
        ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
        WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Featured advertisers