Date: July 20 2012
Morale at the Western Force has slumped after Michael Cheika knocked back their offer to take over as head coach. On top of that is uncertainty over whether their captain David Pocock will remain, or head east, most probably to the Brumbies. Perth sources have told Ruck & Maul some players have lost faith in the Force's chief executive Vern Reid following assurances that haven't come to fruition. Cheika recently visited Perth and notified the Force he had been approached by the Waratahs, but he preferred to give the Force the right of first option as NSW ''talked, but promised nothing''. It is understood Cheika left the Force meetings impressed, with ''the only thing to be done being the paperwork''. So some players are privately blaming officials for missing out on him. Cheika is now being pursued by Ireland team officials. But there are still powerful NSW identities eager to lure Cheika to Sydney and the Waratahs, especially after Michael Foley was linked with the Force. It is known at least one Waratahs director is interested in pursuing Cheika. He continues to refuse to comment on the coaching issue and is understood to be back in Paris, where he was recently coaching Stade Francais.
If the cap fits
Our story about an Australian province rorting the salary cap by illegally paying a player via his club through a ''ground fee'' invoice system has caused major dramas. While the ARU has begun investigations, one of the clubs alleged to be involved in the system had an emergency meeting just a few days ago after the scam was revealed in The Sun-Herald. The meeting was attended by a benefactor who is anxious to dissociate himself from any blame. For the province involved, if the ARU get solid evidence, there will be repercussions. Heads will roll.
Twits have no wit
Waratahs head office is now known as the ''fun police'' after their ridiculous decision to suspend or have cheeky Twitter accounts amended. Showing that they are rugby's version of the Kremlin, those sensitive Big Brothers at Moore Park have got all antsy about spoof Twitter accounts that have been taking the mickey out of the organisation. And there's plenty of them because lampooning the Waratahs is child's play, considering their dreadful season both on and off the field. And good on the Horrotahs parody twitter account going at full speed yesterday, with countless barbs, including: ''If the Reds can still appeal to SANZAR about Quade Cooper's suspension, maybe there's still time for us to appeal to SANZAR about our whole season?'' Adding to the farce is that Waratahs officials continue to wonder why their relationship with several members of the Sydney rugby media corp is at an all-time low.
Reds mist descends
The Waratahs are losing friends all over the place. Our snouts at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday night said there were some interesting clashes on and off the field. Not everyone in the Waratahs team was ecstatic about Quade Cooper's high tackle on Berrick Barnes, and words were said. We hear there were very some blunt conversations between Waratahs and Reds officials. One Reds identity when approached by a Waratah official told him: ''Get back to the mediocrity half of the room.'' One told another to ''grow a spine''. An observer said the relationship between the states was ''very sour''.
Rumours of the week
■ Consternation at a Sydney club with a coach allegedly assaulting one of his colts players. And another coach at the club is in trouble for being told to leave a hotel because of his unsavoury behaviour.
■ Is it true that the ARU has demanded a full report on the many antics of the serial offending official known as Radio because of his big mouth? It will be a long report. Radio has been told to ''lay low'' and not to do anything which will embarrass his province, or he faces instant dismissal. Many well-known players want nothing to do with him, especially after he revealed photographs of a star player with an ironwoman.
■ Waratahs head office is in meltdown over complaints about the five-figure amount they paid for a little-known half-time entertainer who sang for just over a minute at the Brumbies match two weeks ago. Nice work if you can get it.
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