Waratahs champion coach Michael Cheika says Rob Penney must take responsibility for the club’s predicament and dismisses the abandoned NSW mentor’s claim that he was made a scapegoat for a 0-5 start to the Super Rugby season.
Cheika, who led NSW to their first and only Super Rugby title in 2014, was speaking on a Stan Sport special, Where to go now for the Waratahs, next Penney’s sacking on Sunday.
The Kiwi coach arrived in Sydney last season with an impressive resume from his time with Canterbury, Crusaders and Munster, among other clubs, but was unable to deliver results with a painfully young Waratahs side. .
“I don’t know Rob personally,” Cheika said at a Stan Sport panel hosted by Nick McArdle and also featuring former NSW star Morgan Turinui.
“He looks like a top guy and he’s been a coach with a lot of experience before, but I think the whole coaching selection is very three-dimensional.
“The right person for the right team at the right time – I think maybe that’s where the problem came from. Maybe it was then.
“They made that decision and gave it the opportunity. It’s a decision and you can never be 100% sure if it’s a good or a bad decision, but at some point they made a decision. decision.”
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The Waratahs host defending champion Brumbies at Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday and will be led by former Penney assistants Jason Gilmore and Chris Whitaker.
Cheika, who parted ways with the Wallabies after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, disagreed with Turinui’s call that Penney had been made a scapegoat for systemic issues at the club.
“I don’t think it’s a scapegoat game at all,” said Cheika.
“In professional play, the coach is in charge. You know your circumstances, you try to change them, you try to change them. It’s not a personal perspective, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person though. you get the ball.
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“You take responsibility for the team you coach. You do your best to get them there. You have to have the skin in the game to make the changes necessary to get them to the point of agreeing with them. your organization at the start when you enter.
“Maybe he didn’t meet the criteria for what they want.”
Cheika added that despite having a limited and young roster, players at Waratahs are simply not delivering some non-negotiable items.
“I really think the defense inside the game is something you don’t need a lot of skill at,” Cheika said.
“I think some part was not up to standard.”
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Cheika also made some interesting comments on Stan Sport. after Saturday’s crushing 46-14 loss to the Reds but before Penney’s sacking.
“This is what is happening – we will point the finger at the coach,” said Cheika.
“It could be true, it could be wrong. But the coach has to fight.
“When the coach fights then everyone is going to follow him and fight. None of that doubting or ‘I don’t know’. You are the man, you are in the niche, you represent us, we believe in you .
“I would say that myself and that’s how you have to approach it. When you set this agenda, everyone follows you.
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