The combination of Roger Davis and Michael Cheika has swept through the stagnant and negative NSW Waratahs organisation like a breath of fresh air.
Davis (60), BEc (Hons) M Philosophy, is a former Wallaby and Rhodes Scholar, whose leadership qualities are in such demand that he’s on 11 boards across 10 industries.
He was appointed chairman of the Waratahs last month.
Cheika (45), a dyed-in-the-wool Randwick man is coming from the home of running rugby, where he played over 300 games and won seven premierships as a no nonsense No 8. He coached premierships in 2003 and 2004, before nine years overseas coaching experience in Ireland with Leinster and in France with Stade Francais.
He was appointed Waratahs coach yesterday for the next three years.
Now the Moore Park based Super Rugby franchise is cooking with gas and not candles. In just one day, the roster will feel as though a huge weight has been taken off their shoulders and they can settle down to do what they do best – play rugby the way it should be played.
Cheika will see to that.
No more aimless and constant kicking like previous Waratahs and current Wallabies, but Randwick rugby. The famous ‘Galloping Greens’ in their prime were at their most dangerous best just outside their own tryline.
Length of the field tries were common-place with deft passing, superb support, and a deep desire to turn defence into seven points.
Let me be the first to tell lost and lamenting Waratahs fans they are going to be treated to champagne rugby, and there will be 14 other Super Rugby franchises that won’t know what hit them.
These are not empty promises. They will be fact because Cheika is a hard-nosed critter who has a real flair for rugby, it’s in his blood.
But he’s essentially a team man, and the Waratahs will warm to his coaching.
“It’s the balance between cutting edge, technology, and science with a bit of old school, gut feeling, good culture, good atmosphere around the place, and a bit of dog as well,” was how Cheika described his task.
Talk is cheap, but Cheika pretty well covered all bases, and he’s a man of his word. Anything he’s missed isn’t worth caring about.
Now there’s a genuine reason why NSW supporters should again care for their team and vote with their feet once the Super Rugby tournament kicks off.
They will get excellent value for their hard-earned and a lot of entertainment while Roger Davis and Michael Cheika are calling the shots.
The Waratahs are alive again.