No more Cheika’s way or the highway

Moreton Bait Roar Pro

By Moreton Bait, Moreton Bait is a Roar Pro

19 Have your say

    Michael Cheika is a fine coach with an impeccable record. So is Ewen McKenzie. I am more than happy to place my faith in either to lead my national rugby team.

    However, as the long 2014 rugby season draws to a frustrating and heartbreaking conclusion they have both conspired, with admirable assistance from the ARU, to stuff up the Wallaby chances at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

    McKenzie seems to have mismanaged off-field and personnel issues, leading to on-field problems and resulting in the most spectacular headline-grabbing drama in Australian rugby history.

    In their panic, ARU had nowhere to turn. After dismissing Deans, appointing another overseas coach was out of the question and so the only person left standing who met the established minimum criteria for Wallabies coach was appointed.

    That criteria? Australian, ex-Randwick, preferably a forward and a winner of a Super Rugby title. Step right up, Michael Cheika.

    It’s probably understandable that, realising he had suddenly found himself in the greatest bargaining position and at shortest odds for the job since Makybe Diva showed her face at Flemington for the third time, he decided to play hard-ball with the ARU.

    It was going to be Micheal Cheika’s way, all the way, or the highway!

    I hold all three responsible for the stuff up that has resulted in the worst EOYT performance for many, many years. And unfortunately it leaves preparations for the Rugby World Cup, which is only about nine months away, in tatters.

    I hope now, after this humbling, and humiliating EOYT experience, both the ARU and Cheika can begin to work together for the betterment of the Wallabies, unify supporters and quell parochial bias, recrimination and suspicion.

    Here are my main concerns
    1. Jim McKay in my opinion is an excellent, thoughtful, experienced and well-qualified coach. He was building and making clear progress with attack patterns which were producing evidence of better performances at international level.

    He was credited with being responsible for taking on most of the preparations for Bledisloe three – the Wallabies best performance of the year. I have not heard any negative comments about him from players.

    Would it not have been sensible to continue with his work through the EOYT before deciding to change attack coaches?

    2. The scrum has performed poorly for a very long time. There seem to be recurring issues with technique. If a coach had to trimmed prior to the EOYT wouldn’t it be logical to consider changes initially in this area?

    3. The dual-role expected of Cheika to coach both the Waratahs and the Wallabies is simply untenable. Too much conflict of interest or at least the potential for the perception of conflicted, and/or prejudicial, decisions. ARU should never have accepted this arrangement when negotiating with Cheika.

    I do believe Cheika is a man of integrity and I hope he can reflect upon this series of lost Test matches.

    Apparently he hates to lose, so this turn of events should motivate him somewhat. He should realise that now is not the time for arrogance or tough bargaining, or even to be head coach of the Waratahs.

    There is a lot of work to be done at the national level. He needs to get a competitive side on the field for the Rugby World Cup and that should be his main priority right now.

    The ARU, if they have any sense, should be alarmed at the standard of play the Wallabies produced in the past three Test matches and move to protect their only money-making asset. Cheika to coach the Wallabies while Daryl Gibson, Nathan Grey or anyone else can coach the Waratahs. The national side must come first.

    Jim McKay should come back to deal with attack (if he’s still interested) and Laurie Fisher to be coaxed back to look after the forwards.

    I believe Cheika can produce a great Wallabies squad but he cannot do it alone, and he cannot do it while coaching both Waratahs and Wallabies.

    It’s time for a little humility, focus, hard work and common sense. The real Cheika qualities?

    No longer time for Cheika’s way, or the highway.

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • November 30th 2014 @ 9:13am
      Stray Gator said | November 30th 2014 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      About six or seven weeks too late.

      Besides, the writing on this particular EOYT’s wall was placed there in Argentina. Don’t forget that McKay was part of the regime that led to that result. Who knows how bad things could have gotten had McKenzie tried to tough it out?

      • Roar Guru

        November 30th 2014 @ 3:54pm
        Combesy said | November 30th 2014 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

        You’re right the match after the entire saga played out the wallabies played like absolute crap… Oh wait..

    • Roar Rookie

      November 30th 2014 @ 9:29am
      I want to be a farmer said | November 30th 2014 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Could not agree more. The removal of McKay was wrong. The continued role of Andrew Blades is questionable considering the on-going technical & physical flaws in the teams forward play. The fact we can have a 135kg lock come on from the bench & the scrum goes backwards says a lot about the technical standards at the wallabies.

      The perception of conflict can only continue with the dual Waratahs wallabies role. This needs resolution if only to keep the fan wars at bay. As a Victorian looking in at it the qld NSW divide is very evident & it won’t be long before this becomes an issue for the players, the minute a controversial selection falls inevitably to a Tah all hell will break loose. Let’s not start on the Beale garbage.

      2 steps to a clean slate 1. No more Tahs for chieka, 2. A new forwards coach that has a grasp of set play technique.

    • November 30th 2014 @ 10:59am
      "Bowled Shane" said | November 30th 2014 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Wonder when Australia will move into the professional rugby era? The more you think about it, the more laughable the decision to let Cheika continue to coach NSW has become. It was a self serving, job saving move by Pulver… Now it looks silly because the gamble didn’t pay off.

      2 very good coaches couldn’t fix the problems after 7 yrs… And they will full time. Do they really think Cheika can turn the ship around in 9months doing the job part time while coaching against the majority of his players? How does this work?

    • Roar Pro

      November 30th 2014 @ 11:34am
      Moreton Bait said | November 30th 2014 @ 11:34am | ! Report

      Exactly guys!

      Stray Gator, I don’t think the issue is McKenzie v Cheika, they’ve both messed this up with ARU in the centre of the mess. We now know the Argentina loss was on the heels of a coach / player revolt. McKay as far as I can see was left to carry the burden for Bled 3…..and produced. Then was sacked in the wash up.

      Drew you actually summed it up better than I did

      Bowled Shane, yes 3 excellent questions

    • Roar Rookie

      November 30th 2014 @ 1:01pm
      Silver Sovereign said | November 30th 2014 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

      Well it certainly proves it doesn’t matter who coaches this rabble, they are still going to underperform. The interesting this is that the NSW players seem to be playing even worse under Cheika than they did with Link. I mean that was supposed to be one of the positives of the new coaching regime. That he would have a comfort and control over the Waratahs boys and then that would filter through to the rest. Well to no avail

    • Roar Guru

      November 30th 2014 @ 3:43pm
      RobC said | November 30th 2014 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

      Thanks MB. Good pointers. EOY13 I thought the Blades and WB scrum did well. France June also.. Starting team for TRC14 imo were top shelf. Replacements were the problem

      It was selections in EOYT14 that proved to be the scrum downfall:
      – vs Wales, Hooper and SeanMac on the flanks
      – vs French. Ok until Skelton came on
      – vs rish: Same as French
      – vs England. flankers again

      What kind of coach would put 35kg deficit on the backrow at scrum time. Thats not including the the 15kg deficit on tighthead. Against a national team known for scrums.

      Then the coach complain about the opposing team and ref. In this case, the issue starts with the head coach before the forwards coach.

      • Roar Guru

        November 30th 2014 @ 3:44pm
        RobC said | November 30th 2014 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

        supposed to read 15kg deficit on tight five

      • December 1st 2014 @ 4:50pm
        Paul said | December 1st 2014 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

        ” EOY13 I thought the Blades and WB scrum did well. France June also.. Starting team for TRC14 imo were top shelf”

        “It was selections in EOYT14 that proved to be the scrum downfall:
        – vs Wales, Hooper and SeanMac on the flanks”

        Careful, your bias is showing. Hooper was flanker in the EOY13 and TRC14 as well.

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2014 @ 7:02pm
          RobC said | December 1st 2014 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

          My only bias is a superior WB performance. I dont care which players deliver it.

          Yes, Hooper was in the pack, but not the same time as SeanMc:
          – There was no imaginable way EM or Blades would have put 2 x 100kg vs 2 x 115kg
          – Not in the modern 8man scrum, no matter how good a flanker can run or tackle

        • Roar Guru

          December 1st 2014 @ 7:07pm
          RobC said | December 1st 2014 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

          You will also notice a difference in the push:
          – By the end of TRC 2014. WBS were pushing through for scrum domination and penalties – ie flankers with their heads down, though Hooper still meerkated more than warranted
          – In the Gold Coast: the Pumas threw a LO badly. Incredibly WBs opted for a scrum instead of a LO – and delivered.

          Last week and couple of other games
          – Two lightweight non-scrummagers at the flanks, instead of just one.
          – 6&7 push til the scrum moves and then they start to breakaway, instead of properly flanking the scrum push
          – Not limited to Hoops. Happened with Jones and SeanMc too
          – This is a very different scrum policy to a mere few weeks back

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