Cheika: I'm just a rugby coach

2014-11-20 22:00
Michael Cheika (AFP)

Dublin - Australia coach Michael Cheika says he does not know whether he is the best person to put badboy utility back Kurtley Beale on the right path but he is certainly not his social worker.

Beale looks set to play in his first Test, after Cheika named him as a replacement for the one-off Test with Ireland on Saturday, since being fined for sending a crude text to then team business manager Di Patston, which resulted in her leaving and Cheika's predecessor Ewen McKenzie resigning.

Beale, who was also punished for being rude and disrespectful to the team management, has not played for Australia since the defeat in Cape Town by South Africa on September 27.

Cheika, who called up Beale as a late replacement to the squad for the five match tour last week, was frank about how much he could do to help the troubled but talented 25-year-old.

"I don't know, I think when he came to the Waratahs I never claimed I was going to be his social worker," said Cheika, who has guided the Wallabies to two wins and a defeat so far on the tour.

"I'm just a rugby coach."

Cheika, who coached top Irish province Leinster from 2005 to 2010 and guided them to the 2009 European Cup trophy, said frank talk with Beale, who has had problems with alcohol, was the answer.

"Honesty, straightforwardness, directness, putting him exactly in the picture of what's required and what's not needed, and I've found that that works to get the best out of him and also a really good, honest relationship," said the 47-year-old coach.

"No one's ever going to be 100 percent perfect, me included, there's no doubt there.

"But if you're honest more often than not and it's in the open, then you can usually get a resolution."

Cheika, who is the son of Lebanese immigrants, said Beale had behaved himself when he was with him at the NSW Waratahs but his behaviour towards Patston had been beyond the pale.

"There's no excuses for what happened," said Cheika.

"I know that in the time that he was with us in the Waratahs he was impeccable, but there's still no excuse for what happened.

"It was inappropriate, he's been through that process and got himself back on track now, and fit, and he's over here to play, and hopefully we'll be able to help him regain a bit more support for the right reasons, and not be maligned for the wrong ones."

The combative Cheika, who left Leinster for an unsuccessful spell at French outfit Stade Francais, took a swipe at the Wallaby players -- lock Kane Douglas being the latest to move to Leinster -- who have opted to move to northern hemisphere clubs thereby forfeiting the right to play for their country.

"The ARU (Australia Rugby Union) is taking steps now to revisit some of its ideas going forward, I know they've been talking about sabbaticals and things like that for players, to try to keep more and more players in Australia," said Cheika.

"But at the end of the day there is a money difference I suppose in coming over here to play, but it's when you make that final decision that money's more important to you than playing for Australia.

"And when you make that decision it's time for someone else to play for Australia."

Cheika, who guided the Waratahs to the Super Rugby title this year, said he was looking forward to the clash with Six Nations champions Ireland where he pits his wits against the man who replaced him at Leinster Joe Schmidt, who became Ireland coach last year.

"Ireland's a real force in world rugby, there's no doubt about it," said Cheika.

"They have a great crop of players and a great coach who has been able to unite them, probably better than any of the other coaches in the past, and their results are going to be improved no doubt.

"They are a quality team to be reckoned with now, and definitely in the World Cup without a doubt."


15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Rhys Ruddock, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Paul O'Connell (captain), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Luke Jones, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes (three to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Benn Robinson, 19 Ben Alexander, 20 James Horwill, 21 Will Skelton 22 Jake Schatz, 23 Will Genia, 24 Quade Cooper, 25 Rob Horne, 26 Kurtley Beale

Read more on:    wallabies  |  michael cheika  |  kurtley beale  |  rugby

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