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Smith backs Cheika for Waratahs' redemption

Likes hard-nosed coaching … George Smith.

Likes hard-nosed coaching … George Smith. Photo: Getty Images

UNCERTAINTY over the Waratahs' ability to win a Super Rugby title will remain until that elusive moment of triumph happens - if it ever does.

For far too long, pre-season hype over suggestions that ''this will be their year'' has ended in heartbreak. But one thing followers can bank on under their new coach, Michael Cheika, Wallabies great George Smith believes, is that they will play as a united team, not a collective bunch of individuals.

Smith told Fairfax Media the former Randwick and NSW back-rower, known for being a hands-on, in-your-face coach, would ''do good things for the Waratahs''.

''He is well respected by players.'' Smith said. ''Players enjoy being coached by Michael. He is a coach you want to play for and win games for. He will bring that out of the players, and an ability to be a group rather than as individuals.''

Smith, who plays rugby in Japan, experienced Cheika's coaching last year on a secondment from Suntory Goliath in Tokyo. The veteran of 110 Tests and 122 Super games played 10 matches with Parisian club Stade Francais, then coached by Cheika.

Smith, 32 - a protege of former Wallabies and Brumbies coach Eddie Jones, who lured Smith to Suntory as their coach but is now in charge of the Japanese national side - likes hard-nosed coaching.

And at Stade Francais, he found that in Cheika and liked it - even if some of the European players did not. Cheika's two-year contract ended acrimoniously after a string of unsatisfactory results and amid reports of boardroom politics.

But Cheika, who coached Irish club Leinster to their 2009 European Cup victory, was not the first Australian coach to leave in such circumstances and go on to better things. Former Wallabies prop Ewen McKenzie fell out with Stade Francais during his tenure from 2008-09, but showed the strength of his ability by coaching the Queensland Reds to their first Super title in 2010.

Smith, meanwhile, is not finished with his rugby career. He has signed with Suntory for another season, and shows no sign of hanging up his boots.

He will return to Australia next month for a post-season break, and head back to Japan in June. But after his next season with Suntory, he hopes to continue playing. ''I have no plans [confirmed] after that,'' he said. ''I will continue playing, but I haven't decided where yet.''

As with his decision to end his Wallabies career, the priorities of his family will play a big role in his future. While playing in Japan, his family have remained in Australia, but visit him regularly. ''It will depend on [his wife Louise] where I go, where I play,'' Smith said.

Meanwhile, the Waratahs will officially name the new captain at their season launch on February 6 at The Ivy in Sydney, nine days before the Super Rugby competition kicks off.

The announcement will come eight days after the Waratahs play the last of their three trials - against the Crusaders at Allianz Stadium, Sydney on February 14.

However, the Waratahs' chances of resisting forfeiting their Wallabies for an extended Test camp before the Lions series have been hit by a needless injury to second-rower Kane Douglas.

Douglas rolled his ankle while playing a game of touch football in a Wallabies logistics camp on Tuesday as part of a promotion for the British and Irish Lions tour.

Cheika said the injury would keep Douglas out of training for at least a fortnight. ''We were assured there would be no rugby content whatsoever, and we've had a player injured shooting an advertisement without the correct strapping,'' Cheika said. ''He's now going to start the season with just two weeks of training - that type of stuff makes it [releasing players] hard to swallow.

''I understand mistakes can happen sometimes but we can minimise them, and that [injury] shouldn't be happening.''

with AAP

Twitter - @rupertguinness

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 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
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 02:45Olym
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 02:45Olym
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 07:00Olym
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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