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Chieka sets Waratahs top two target

By Adrian Warren,


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    Coach Michael Cheika has boldly set the NSW Waratahs an ambitious target of finishing in the top two of the 2014 Super Rugby competition, after revealing two more newcomers to his squad.

    Former Australia A back Matt Carraro and young hooker Tolu Latu are the latest additions to the 30-man roster, leaving Cheika with only one spot to fill.

    The other newcomers previously announced are Wallaby backs Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps, Springbok loose forward Jacques Potgieter, utility back Jono Lance and back-rower Tala Gray.

    Cheika will look for one more front-rower to round out a squad for which he has set a testing goal, after they finished ninth overall and third in the Australian Conference in his first year in charge.

    “If we can finish top two, then we’re a chance of winning it – that’s our holy grail,” Cheika said.

    He wasn’t concerned he would be placing undue pressure on his players by setting such a high target.

    “I think the players would be dirty on me if I didn’t want to set that ambition, now that I feel the base is there,” Cheika said.

    “I’m still not convinced about this whole pressure thing. If you are not playing the game to win it, why else are you playing?”

    He said focusing on their mental approach and converting more scoring opportunities would be the areas they needed to target to crash the top two.

    Cheika said NSW needed to capitalise more on their strength in the scrum and lineout and adopt a more physical approach, while continuing to employ a running style.

    “Certain parts of our team will have to become better,” Cheika said.

    “The defensive side of the game, we can put a bit more sting in our tail.”

    Winger-centre Carraro played for the Brumbies in 2007 and the Waratahs in 2008-09 and returns to Australia after club stints in England and France.

    Latu 20, who played in Sydney University’s club premiership-winning side last weekend, is just the second hooker in the squad behind Wallabies star Tatafu Polota-Nau.

    He started in the centres before moving into the back-row.

    “I got told ‘mate, you are too unfit and you are too slow to be in the loose forwards so you should try your hand in the front row’ … that was probably the best move that I’ve made,” Latu said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • September 21st 2013 @ 4:33am
      chann wee said | September 21st 2013 @ 4:33am | ! Report

      One guy who will improve the team : JackPot.

      If they learn from him OZ boys will know a little bit about forward play .

      still top 2 is a distant dream , imo


    • September 21st 2013 @ 9:35am
      ron burgundy said | September 21st 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      Chieka should be the wallaby coach … that is if we want to progress to the quarter finals at 2015 rwc

      • September 21st 2013 @ 10:30am
        Hopperdoggy said | September 21st 2013 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Ha ha, here we go again.

        Why don’t we form a parliament of coaches: with Link minister of running rugby,
        Jake minister of methodical
        Cheks minister of angry
        Dingo minister of random underperformers
        and throw Alan Jones on the cross bench just to talk a lot.

        Would be entertaining if nothing else!

        • September 21st 2013 @ 9:23pm
          Tane Mahuta said | September 21st 2013 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

          Random underperformers?
          Like who?
          Deans was of making the best of what hes got and imo he pretty much did, especially in 2011 & 2012.

          Have the last 4 tests taught you nothing?

          Since Deans was sacked the Wallabies have been thrashed 3 times and just scraped by against the 10th ranked team Arg. They have won 1 from 4 and only by the narrowest of margins with some help from the ref they avoided it being 0 from 4. The average tries scored against them is 3.25 & the ave tries scored by them is 1. Thats far worse than under Deans and its clear that Aus were looking flat in 2012 because they just were not good enough and still are not despite the change of coach and return of Horwill, Genia, JOC, Lealiifano and Cooper.
          Aus is not a great team and under Deans they won more than they were entitled to. Imo they didnt have a top 3 team on paper and especially with so many injuries over the last 2 years.

    • September 21st 2013 @ 10:36am
      tomas said | September 21st 2013 @ 10:36am | ! Report



    • Roar Guru

      September 21st 2013 @ 12:15pm
      Simon Levingston said | September 21st 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

      Ha, heard it all before, they must be trying to sign a big sponsor at the moment. I hope the sponsor is not a rugby fan because they will realise Cheika’s team has to beat the Chiefs and Brumbies first, which is more easily said than done.

      • September 21st 2013 @ 9:30pm
        Loyal Tah Fan said | September 21st 2013 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

        Waratahs beat both the chiefs and brumbies this year?

        • September 23rd 2013 @ 2:17pm
          dmac said | September 23rd 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report


    • September 21st 2013 @ 2:04pm
      bennalong said | September 21st 2013 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

      Love the Roar

      All the negative whiners rush to bag Cheiks. Why?

      He said nothing arrogant, it’s not his style.

      Less than a year into his tenure and the team beat both finalists.

      Watch McKenzie when the Tahs are the form team.

      I look foreward to next season.

      • Roar Guru

        September 21st 2013 @ 3:09pm
        AlBo said | September 21st 2013 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

        Agree bennalong, it’s ridiculous.

        I don’t think he could have put it any better as a head coach to be honest. He’s set a realistic goal and shown confidence in his team. What do people honestly expect him to say?

        “Nah, we’re just hoping to do as best as we can.”

        Bollocks. You back your team to do outdo themselves.

        Plus he’s only set the bar at top 2 in the conference. Not exactly touting them as the next world beaters.

        • Roar Guru

          September 21st 2013 @ 3:39pm
          AlBo said | September 21st 2013 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

          Self correction… he did say top two of the comp. But I stand by my point. 🙂

    • September 21st 2013 @ 2:33pm
      Skills & Techniques said | September 21st 2013 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

      Look at the scoreboard Simon