Cheika holds fire on Tahs captaincy

By Steve Jancetic,


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    New Waratahs coach Michael Cheika will wait to see who wants it the most before deciding on a captain for this year’s Super Rugby campaign.

    The majority of the Waratahs’ Test representatives returned to training for the first time on Monday, Cheika putting them through an arduous session in sweltering conditions at Centennial Park.

    Cheika is yet to decide who will lead the Waratahs in 2013, with incumbent Benn Robinson – who inherited the role as a result of former skipper Rocky Elsom’s injury ruined 2012 season – having already stated his desire to retain the captaincy.

    “Until the other lads had come back and started running, you’ve got to see who wants it the most,” Cheika said of the captaincy.

    “The leadership’s earned, it’s not a given.

    “A lot of the guys are back and running around now – we’ll see who wants to earn the respect to be the boss.”

    None of the Wallabies stars were due back at training until next week – but a host of them including Robinson, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell and new signing Michael Hooper – returned early for their first run under Cheika.

    Asked how many of them were in the running for the captaincy, Cheika said: “I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you.

    “There’s a natural group of guys that have stepped out of the (non-Wallabies players) squad that has been here already.

    “Now when the Wallaby players have returned – I think some of them who have returned in advance of their dates have shown that they want to be in it.”

    As for Robinson’s chances, Cheika said:

    “He’s here a week earlier than he was supposed to be – that shows that he wants it”.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • January 7th 2013 @ 1:41pm
      Atawhai Drive said | January 7th 2013 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

      Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Robinson’s chances of retaining the captaincy, is it?

      What about Michael Hooper?

      • January 7th 2013 @ 2:10pm
        nickoldschool said | January 7th 2013 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

        Robinson had a decent eoy tour with the wallabies but he isn’t a leader or motivator IMO. his body language alone says it all. Anyone but him, please.

      • January 7th 2013 @ 3:08pm
        Hightackle said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

        I agree about Hooper perhaps vice captain at first but he seems to have his head screwed on and he is capable of leading through actions too.

    • Roar Guru

      January 7th 2013 @ 2:39pm
      PeterK said | January 7th 2013 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

      The choice of captain is really hard.

      First of all it has to be someone who is an automatic starter.

      Robinson – proven to be a poor captain.
      TPN is a leader and motivator and very smart and articulate. However he is off injured too much.
      Kepu – Not articulate enough to deal with the ref , also seems to not understand a lot of the laws.
      S Timani – English is not great.
      Douglas – Is a possibility.
      Dennis – IMO he SHOULD NOT get it since L Timani is a better player and should get to start over this way overrated Wallaby. That said it would not surprise me if he gets it.
      Hooper – Too young, and just new to the team. However it could be a good choice given a new coach and he is showing it is a new era and by making Hooper captain is making a big statement.
      Palu – Not articulate enough.

      Half – is not certain of his place out of the 2.
      10 – Foley is not certain of his place all year IMO, S am Lane looks a better prospect at 10.
      Mitchell – cant captain from the wing.
      Barnes – Is a reasonable choice hwoever he may be at 15 which is too far away from the action.
      Horne and Carter – Not certain of their place
      Turner – cant captain from wing or F/B
      Folau – enough on his plate in his first year.
      AAC – A reasonable choice IF he plays 13.

      So IMO the captain choices narrow down to Douglas, Hooper, Barnes and AAC.

      I would choose Hooper because this makes a strong statement to the old brigade that a new boss is in town.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 7th 2013 @ 3:05pm
        MikeG said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        PK, bit rough on a few of the PI boys here.

        How do you know Palu is “not articulate enough”…ever spoken to him? I have, & I can tell you he was able to put forward his viewpoint in a totally articulate manner, so I’d suggest you rephrase this or speak to him yourself! If you are refferring to his on-camera interview style, then perhaps he’s not as long winded as some other ex captains…But strangely enough I like that…Results on the board are what counts this year, not how good an “on-camera” talent you are!

        & in that vein, I’d like to add – Anyone but Robinson!!

        • Roar Guru

          January 7th 2013 @ 3:11pm
          PeterK said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

          yes I have spoken with him a couple of times. However I have heard him be interviewed often and sometimes he he struggles to get the point across.

          Palu does have good english though unlike Timani. I should of added that Palu like TPN is too injury prone to be captain.
          Kepu has good english as well just seems to get a lot of laws wrong.

          No r.a.c.i.s.m on my part so no need for the reference to PI boys, I would choose TPN as captain if he stayed on the field more, he is very clever etc.

          I too excluded Robinson.

          • January 7th 2013 @ 6:14pm
            nickoldschool said | January 7th 2013 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

            I dont think your comment was intentionally racist but, like Mike G, i did take the ‘not articulate enough’ comments the wrong way. I definitely think that Palu’s English is good enough to captain the side. Its more a matter of being a natural leader, motivator etc than being very eloquent. There are numerous examples where foreign players or even entire teams are coached by foreigners. To be perfectly honest, I always doubted than McKenzie was fluent enough in French to coach SF. Gorgodze is captain of Montpellier and i dont think he is more fluid/fluent in french than Palu or the others in English.

            Plus wont name names but there are quite a few ‘anglos’ who have captained league or union teams who were not that eloquent in their own language.

      • January 7th 2013 @ 3:14pm
        Hightackle said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        TPN being articulate is real stretch. I would say, after seeing a lot of his cringe inducing interviews where he struggles to finish sentences, that its not one of his strengths.

        • Roar Guru

          January 7th 2013 @ 3:20pm
          PeterK said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

          totally disagree, I have spoken with him, and he has responded excellently to interviews when it has not been right after a game when he is probably concussed.

          He has been interviewed about PI players in the West of Sydney, Parramatta who he plays for in the shut shield etc.
          They were long interviews not the tripe stuff after a game.

          TPN gave involved , well thought out, insightful answers.

          • January 7th 2013 @ 3:49pm
            Hightackle said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

            Not in ANY of the interviews Ive seen where he struggles to find the right words, falls back on media 101 and often uses the wrong words in the wrong context.
            This is through watching him being interviewed before, after and in between games on the rugby club and fox sports.

            • January 7th 2013 @ 4:19pm
              Boomeranga said | January 7th 2013 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

              There was that press conference in Argentina this year where I couldn’t understand what he was going on about. All sounded jibberish to me.

          • Roar Guru

            January 7th 2013 @ 3:57pm
            AlBo said | January 7th 2013 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

            I’m with you PK. TPN has always impressed me with is on camera personality. He’s regularly used as a figurehead of the team because he’s positive, articulate and entertaining.

            That being said I don’t know if that’s what you want from a captain, but I’d much rather hear him interviewed than any other.

            Barnes would be my choice but you’re right, the prospect of a Captain from 15 is tough. Certainly doable, but tough.

      • January 7th 2013 @ 7:00pm
        WW said | January 7th 2013 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

        He is a fine speaker, a leader on the field with his deeds that go mostly un noticed by the fairy floss fans, but not the true rugby fans, and he is a motivational figure… Palu would be my captain.

    • Roar Guru

      January 7th 2013 @ 2:53pm
      Atawhai Drive said | January 7th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

      PeterK, a good and concise assessment of the pros and cons of all the potential captains.

      Glad to see you’ve come up with Hooper too. Yes, he’s young, but Ken Catchpole first led the Waratahs at 20 and the Wallabies at 21. I know, I know, that was more than 50 years ago and rugby was amateur then and the world has tilted on its axis, but the exceptional person is exceptional in any era. And Hooper looks like something special.

      Also, as you say, it’s a strong message to the old guard that things will be different from now on.

      • Roar Guru

        January 7th 2013 @ 8:19pm
        Jiggles said | January 7th 2013 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

        re Hooper, good player does not equal good captain. Pocock has been and ordinary captain so far despite being the best wallaby for much of the last 4 years. Hooper needs a little more time yet.

        • January 7th 2013 @ 8:34pm
          Atawhai Drive said | January 7th 2013 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

          Hooper is not Pocock.

          The way to establish whether Hooper the good player is a good or bad captain is to give him the captaincy. Perhaps in a pre-season trial match, assuming there are any.

          • Roar Guru

            January 7th 2013 @ 9:20pm
            Jiggles said | January 7th 2013 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

            Not saying he is, just pointing out the folly of thinking good player equals good captain. They should have trial games.

    • January 7th 2013 @ 2:53pm
      Terry Kidd said | January 7th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

      Between Robinson and Barnes …. as simple as that

    • January 7th 2013 @ 4:22pm
      Working Class Rugger said | January 7th 2013 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

      I’d be happy to see TPN with the captaincy. The added responsibility could force him to address his kamikaze inspired tackling technique and lengthen his career significantly. In terms of his ability to articulate his opinions, he actually quite a bright bloke (was studying robotics or something), and to be honest, I don’t necessarily believe its the captain duty to give comment on the game either during or directly after a match. It’s his job to manage the ref and lead the team by example on the field through actions not words. I believe the best leaders are doers not talkers.

    • January 7th 2013 @ 4:24pm
      Boomeranga said | January 7th 2013 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

      I hadn’t thought about it previously, but no one leaps out. Maybe we go for a leadership group of say 8 or 10, and then pick someone from the EPS.