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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 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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