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Cheika's spray could be the reset the Wallabies need

By Morgan Turinui

Michael Cheika can definitely peel the paint off the walls when he is giving it to the team.

But things are not always what they seem.

Being on the inside of a team is a very different perspective to the outside, and it's not always easy to interpret what is going on.

When we see Michael Cheika, vision only with no sound, blowing up deluxe at the team at halftime, we can only speculate as to what exactly was being 'discussed'.

Believe me, I have been in the room and on the end of some masterful blasts from Cheik. He probably is the king of the full frontal, fire and fury attack, as opposed to say Eddie Jones who would not have the volume of Cheik but would certainly cut the legs from under you.

Cheika's passion and belief are infectious. Once, when I was playing for him in Paris, and we were backs against the wall, he made it very clear what he expected of us.

He said, essentially, park footy players can do the things that don’t require talent. The elite need to execute under pressure and fatigue.

For a pro, a Wallaby, the basic effort areas are a given. Getting back on your feet in the line quickly, re-aligning in attack and D.


And Cheik at halftime in this match looked like he was serving up one of his specials.

Perhaps he was reminding them what can be accomplished by any rugby player at any level if they displayed ‘l’envie’. The desire to keep turning up and contributing.

But, while I can definitely see where Ben Kimber is coming from with his post suggesting it's a bad sign that the team needs that blast at this stage of the year, there can be more going on.

That half time spray was almost him asking them to play for him. And they did.

It's clearly all on the line at that stage, and the team responded to his call to action.

The definition of professionalism is consistency.

The real question here is is why is there such a big difference between our good and bad, as Ben is asking, and that's impossible to know without being on the inside of that team.

But, without any inside word on what is actually happening here, let me suggest another scenario.

It’s possible Cheika has been trying to change things up. That he’s tried to have faith in new leaders or a new approach from his assistants for a period of time, and that has been to the detriment of the progress they have been looking for.

So Cheik has strapped the boots back on and then come in over the top at half time. And it was just what the team needed.

Have a look at who is standing up in the picture. Hooper, Foley, Haylett-Petty, and the new front row for the second half. It's as if he is laying down the law on who needs to stand up, and who the rest of the team needs to follow.

A corner may have been turned for the team overall, as it certainly was in that game. And, as we all know, a couple of wins under the belt make all the difference.

But that doesn't mean things can't be improved even more.

Talk of adding someone to the staff to mix things up, IF they can find someone trusted by both parties, is not a bad thing, and the Spring tour is a perfect time to have fresh eyes on the inner workings.

Something went right in that second half, so let's see how we can build on that.

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