Michael Cheika to coach the Waratahs in the 2013 Season
NSW Waratahs

Michael Cheika to coach the Waratahs in 2013

Michael Cheika to coach the Waratahs in 2013

The Tahs get their man

The management of the Waratahs franchise today announced Michael Cheika’s appointment as coach for the 2013 season. Although the term was not disclosed in the press release, it is believed that it will be for three years.

Cheika said today that

…the opportunity to coach the Super Rugby team of my home state and the responsibility to make all our supporters and all people from NSW proud of their team is one that motivates me immensely.

I am really looking forward to being part of this new era in NSW rugby and will bring all the passion and professionalism I have to make this team one everyone will be proud of.

My immediate goal is to establish our identity loud and clear, inside and outside of the team; who we are, how we are going to play the game and what we are prepared to do to earn the respect of our team mates, our supporters and our competitors, as individuals and as a team.

Cheika’s coaching career spans 13 years, and includes experience in the Shute Shield coaching Randwick, in Italy with Padova, in Ireland with Leinster for five years and in France coaching Stade Français for the last two.

His time with Leinster was his most successful coaching period to date, culminating with Leinster winning the Heineken (European) Cup in 2009 while winning two Celtic leagues on the way. He was known during that time as coach who had transformed a side that used to be known for its inability to rise to the occasion to winners, in part by injecting some badly needed steel into the Leinster squad.

His time at Stade Français was less successful, with off-field trauma and mediocre on-field results making his life very difficult, and culminating in his sacking.

Before the announcement, former Wallabies captain Simon Poidevin described Cheika as

…the game changer that this organisation needs to sort out their culture, their leadership and their direction. He’s got an excellent track record, both with results and ability to manage players. The culture he built at Leinster, from an organisation that was in the backwaters to what it is now, it is a great case study to what can be done. Guys like [Brian] O’Driscoll loved playing under Michael’s leadership. I don’t think you can get a better statement or acknowledgement of what he did there.

Let’s hope he gets the time and the support to accomplish the same reforms at the Waratahs.

  • Dally M

    That one correct coaching appointment down, another for the Wallabies still to be sorted!

  • Justo

    Will not matter who is coach!
    The Waratah’s can’t play as a team, with all those so called great Wallaby players still can not perform.

    • Dally M


      So Link & Jake White have had nothing to do with the turnaround’s at Reds & Brumbies respectively?

      There has also been change at the board level too, probably not enough, but it’s a start & by all accounts Cheika would not have accepted unless they agreed to give him free reign to change whatever he wanted.

    • Ads

      Oh dear. Did mummy take the family brain cell for the day?!

  • My concern is that the problems at the Tahs goes further than the coach.

    We all know about how amazing Jake White has been for the brumbies, and its due, in part, to his changing of the processes and procedures. Really driving home the need for a strong team-oriented environment.

    If Cheika isn’t given the freedom to apply similar changes, I just can’t see anything changing. It goes all the way up to the administration level.

    I hope he is given everything he needs, I really do. Not just because I am a (frustrated) Tahs fan, but because Australian rugby needs more presence in Super Rugby.

    • The length of negotiations (hopefully more than just salary) and change at the top give me hope that we might see more than just another merry-go-round

      It’s been dashed before though!

      • Mart

        Yep. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

        • Mighty Moth

          Cheika needs to kick some player, board, and organisational ass! Hopefully we’ll see a competitive Tahs in 2013 and at very least a team on the same page with direction.

  • JJJ

    Sharks circling for Deans. First Link, then Jake White, now Cheika.

  • Cheika wouldn’t have taken the role if he didnt have freedom within the organisation. I respect the fact that he’s from sydney, and no doubt wants to couch his “home” team, but he simply wouldnt if it were a mine field.

    He has a good track record, and there’s a real sense he’s a players coach, much like Link is.

    Dare I say Link doesnt have a mortgage on the top job when Deans goes?

  • Andrew

    How long before he is sacked due to Waratah’s infighting? I give him less than 2 years.

  • Cantab

    I wonder if this is the cause or the effect of the Australian coach rotation this year.

  • CraigB

    As a wallaby fan I am too aware that talk is cheap. Show it out on the paddock

  • johnny-boy

    It will be interesting to see whether Cheika’s definition of attractive rugby is based on his earlier australian experience or his more recent northern hemisphere experience.

    • boutbloodytime

      I think just winning a few games would be attractive for the tahs at the moment…

      Potentially he offers a lot…get a Leinster style forward setup providing front foot ball to an Australian style backline & it could be a very attractive style of rugby.

      I think he’s got his work cut out though…getting rid of dead wood at all levels of the set up before establishing a winning culture & style of play…2013 might be a bit too soon to expect big changes, but 2014 could be interesting.

    • stinger

      I was living in Ireland at the start of the rise of Leinster (1.5 seasons before their H Cup victory). Leinster were well known for their exceptional backline & attacking flair – the fans lament was the grinding toughness in the forwards that sore munster defeat them at crucial times. Cheika had to develop the really good forward play (hence why Rocky is such a hero).
      Interesting note that the backs coach there was his old Randwick mate David Knox (a more attck minded backs coach I can’t think of).

      • stinger

        SORRY – fans lament = “lack of” forward toughness

  • JT

    The Reds have done Australian rugby a real service. When they hired Graham, they essentially created an extra Super Rugby coaching slot. Graham stays in the fold and Foley heads west. This meant that a proven, experienced coach like Cheika could return without having to lose one of the developing generation (though some might happily have jettisoned Foley or Graham). The country has a new an excellent coach in the cupboard without having to put anyone on the dole, and the Tahs look like be the big winners.

  • RockyElboa

    I am really happy to see Cheika as coach of the Waratahs. I am not expecting an overnight turn around but hopefully next season we will see a change in culture and attitude.
    I have been burned before (as all Tahs fans have) but I can’t help myself I am hopeful again. We all need to remember it took Cheika 4 years to win a title with Leinster and they are still a powerhouse team, I just hope we can hold faith long enough.
    However having said that I don’t think Sydneysiders are a fickle as people think, yes we want to win but even more than that we want to see our team play and fight well. It has been a long time since we have had a team that matches the talent on paper.
    I may regret this but come on Tahs!!

    Let’s get ride of the boot and the boos.

    To the Tahs,
    If you play the game we know you can and we will back you to the end.
    Renewed Tahs faithful

  • Working Class Rugger

    The most encouraging quote to have been printed from Cheika as far as I’m concerned is that he wants to see “a bit of the dog” in his players. Finally, an Australian coach actually acknowledges mongrel as an integral part of the game. Through experiences playing touring schools as a junior the most difficult to overcome were those who were not a afraid to get among it and do the dirty work so to speak.

    It sounds bad. And, well, it is. But its some times necessary to instill a mindset or attitude from which the rest will follow. The best do it on the border of illegal without crossing it.

    It will be interesting to see who steps up. I’m betting someone with experience of the game from outside the current Private school systems where this is far more commonplace.

  • rugbyinmyblood

    I’m a reds supporter but it would be nice to have three teams up in finals contention. Make us stronger as a nation

  • marshal

    Have a new coach is all well and good but what the waratahs really need is more fist pumping from tommy carter and the rest of the boys.

    They should lead workshops showing kids how to do that and how to make excuses after matches.

    Perhaps stade francais were the waratahs of french rugby.

NSW Waratahs

More in NSW Waratahs