THE INSIDE BACK
The Waratahs squad for next year will be announced this week and it's becoming more likely that a head coach will also be appointed. It is believed Michael Cheika will be confirmed by Friday with a long-term deal that will see him link with interim coach Allan Gaffney. It often gets overlooked that Gaffney coached Ireland to an upset win of the Wallabies at last year's World Cup. He and Cheika have a great relationship and will work well together. So far as the squad goes, notable omissions include Dan Vickerman, Dean Mumm and Daniel Halangahu. South African import Sarel Pretorius is still contracted but his manager is free to negotiate a new deal elsewhere. It's expected he will either return home or link with Michael Foley at the Western Force. The biggest inclusion is former Brumbies flanker Michael Hooper, who is part of Robbie Deans's Wallabies team.
With Waratahs memberships having officially gone on sale this week, interim coach Allan Gaffney has penned a letter to existing members detailing the side's horror season and urging them to stick solid with the side. The Inside Back got hold of the letter and here are some of the more telling parts. ''The wind of change has blown through this place and it's reinvigorated things,'' Gaffney wrote. ''We can't shy away from the fact that last season was extremely disappointing for everyone, including the players, coaching staff and, of course, our members. No one here is sitting on their hands. We are reinvigorated and keen to get on with next season. The players agreed that as a group they need to take more responsibility on the field and be more accountable. The meeting was extremely positive … Here's hoping for a new start in 2013.''
A high-profile Wallaby has just split with an equally well-known Australian media identity after a secret relationship. Hush.
Which NSW cricketer is growing more unpopular by the week among colleagues at Moore Park? The Inside Back understands his car was keyed earlier this year in the team car park.
Fathers in running
Cameron Smith, Nathan Hindmarsh, Michael Ennis and John Sutton have been nominated in the annual Sports Dad of the Year awards, where the athlete with the most public votes will win $5000 to donate to their charity of choice. New dad and V8 Supercars driver Mark Winterbottom has also been nominated, joining cyclist Stuart O'Grady and Socceroo Brett Emerton, among others. Votes can be cast at sportsdads.com.au and will be accepted until August 28. The winner will be announced on Father's Day.
Contrary to reports, Rocky Elsom's contract with Japanese side Kobe Steel is far from having been torn up. Given his shoulder injury, the terms of Elsom's contract are still being negotiated. And while he does have links with Narbonne Racing Club in France, if the breakaway were to play in Europe he wouldn't be playing second division.