Cheika looks for edgy fun with BaaBaas

2015-11-20 08:06
Michael Cheika (Gallo)

London - Michael Cheika admits he has been "having fun" since the Rugby World Cup but the Aussie insists it will be "back to the serious business" with the Barbarians against Argentina on Saturday.

Cheika dearly wants his mix of youth and ultra-experienced players from around the globe "to take another famous international scalp".

The Wallabies head coach is still on a high from his side's World Cup campaign where they reached the final before finding New Zealand just too good in that memorable Twickenham shoot-out.

Cheika returns to the home of English rugby keen to walk away a winner and predicting that a large crowd can expect plenty of thrills, spills and entertainment - but just as importantly a full-on, physical and passionate contest where his Baa Baas will have a "real edge".

He insisted: "It's not just about being rugby's version of the Harlem Globetrotters. It is about playing attacking rugby with good skills and a little edge as well. We are here to win games and play some very good rugby.

"The Barbarians have a long list of famous international scalps they have claimed and the players have it in their minds that they want to collect another scalp on Saturday.

"It's all about wanting to win while being prepared to do something daring. To do something different which is the hallmark of the Barbarians."

He has the likes of South African forward legends Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha in his pack, and a backline glittering with World Cup stars such as New Zealand's Nehe Milner-Skudder, Australia's Tevita Kuridran and Fijian powerhouse Nemani Nadolo.

All three sparkled in England 2015, and will be anxious to continue their outstanding form.

Cheika insists: "The World Cup was such a great tournament and so well organised and run. It was very enjoyable and a lot of fun but now it is back to the serious business of winning games.

"It is wonderful having such talent from different countries at our disposal. Guys who would be our enemies are now on our side, so it's been a fantastic experience coaching these players.

"The rugby calendar makes is very difficult for the Barbarians to get games but when they do get the chance to play one of the top countries it is always special.

"You just have to look at some of the names of the guys who agreed to come back to England after the World Cup to see how much the Barbarians brand still means in the world of rugby.

"It is still a concept the players really enjoy and all the coaches do as well. It's a challenge to get everyone to play a certain style of rugby in a bit more relaxed atmosphere."

Cheika's Barbarians certainly warmed up nicely for the clash with the Pumas having put ten tries on a young Gloucester team at Kingsholm.

The outstanding Milner-Skudder and Joe Tomane were among the try scorers but the Barbarians face a far tougher task against the Pumas, who performed heroics to get to the World Cup semi-finals.

Jonah Lomu's sad and sudden death has cast a shadow over the world of rugby this week and a minute's silence will be held before the game in memory of the former All Blacks great who also represented the Barbarians.

And Cheika said: "We have a few New Zealanders in our side and I am sure they have be thinking of Jonah since we heard the news and we will all think about him when we walk out at Twickenham.

"Jonah was a game changer and such an icon. He had great skills and also passion for the game. He was also a great reader of the game as well."

Read more on:    michael cheika  |  rugby


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