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Robinson gives new coach the nod

Benn Robinson  ... believes Michael Cheika's honest approach will bring out the best in the underperforming Waratahs in 2013.

Benn Robinson ... believes Michael Cheika's honest approach will bring out the best in the underperforming Waratahs in 2013. Photo: Getty Images

BENN ROBINSON is yet to talk at length with Michael Cheika about the challenge of winning an elusive Super Rugby title but after eight years in a side that has fallen short of its potential, the Wallabies prop likes what he has heard of the new Waratahs coach.

The former Randwick and Waratahs back-rower, who has taken the reins on a three-year deal after coaching stints at Padova, Randwick, Leinster and Stade Francais, is a no-frills upfront coach whose only penchant for flair is for the style of game he wants - attacking running rugby.

Cheika has made sweeping changes at the underperforming Tahs, who, despite being the biggest supplier of players to the Wallabies, have never won a Super Rugby title, unlike their two main rivals, the Brumbies, who won in 2001 and 2004, and the Queensland Reds, the 2011 champs.

''I have sat and had a bit of chat with him, the week before last, yet we haven't sat down and gone over things,'' Robinson said. ''But speaking to the boys, he has really set a benchmark nice and early on. The place feels like where rugby is number one. The boys are focused on really training hard and there is no mucking about … He has called a spade a spade a few times before, and that's good to hear. You are going over there to put your best performance out all the time, and to hear it plain and simple from a coach is a good thing.''

One thing Robinson, 28, hopes to hear is that the Waratahs captaincy will be offered to him again. The Waratahs are yet to name their skipper for next year. But after 101 games for NSW - including 94 in Super Rugby - and 56 Tests, Robinson won't talk up his case. ''Of course I would like to captain the side. It's always going to be a goal, to captain my state, but that'll [sort] itself out,'' was all Robinson would say.

He plans to rejoin the non-Wallabies NSW players at training next Monday - a week early - and is confident he will be able to produce his best in a big year for Australian rugby, with the British and Irish Lions touring for the first time since 2001.

It should hearten Cheika and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to hear Robinson say he finished the year with the spring tour win over Wales still below his best condition after recovering from a knee injury in mid-2011 that required an operation and ruled him out of that year's World Cup. ''You don't come back from an operation and play your best footy straight away - I was building back into my game and getting fitter as the games went on,'' said Robinson, who estimates he still played ''about 30'' games last year - including all 14 Wallabies Tests, 13 in the starting side.

As focused as Robinson plans to be on helping the Waratahs win their first Super title, he cannot play down what playing the Lions will mean to him. His memory of the 2001 Lions tour to Australia is as vivid now as it was impressive then as a year 11 student at the King's School.

''I remember a massive sea of red at the games and [how] all the Sydney streets were crowded with [British] people,'' Robinson said. ''I remember [Wallaby] Justin Harrison stole a lineout to win [the third and deciding Test in Sydney]. That is still spoken about now … in the northern hemisphere. I've played in Bledisloe Cup and other big games … no World Cups though. If I get selected, it will be one of my biggest games I can be in. Twelve years [since the last Lions tour] … it is a long time ago. You are lucky to play one in your career.''

Twitter - @rupertguinness

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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