HE may be asking for the impossible, but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has called for Australian rugby to unite as court battles and mud-slinging abound in the midst of the cutting of a Super Rugby franchise.
Cheika cited his own change in philosophy this year, after attending leadership classes at Stanford University in the United States, as an example of how mindsets can change.
The ARU is locked in a legal battle with the Western Force, who’ve taken out an injunction against their national union as they face the axe from Super Rugby after this season.
PODCAST: Jamie Pandaram and Iain Payten dissect the ARU’s decision to cut an Australian Super Rugby team and the implications this has on the game
The Force and Melbourne Rebels are in the firing line, though both will exhaust legal avenues to fight for survival.
The drama has led to vicious public exchanges of disharmony in the code and Cheika says it is detrimental to the game, and believes the relationship he is developing with Australia’s five Super Rugby coaches can be a lesson for all.
“I’m a very argumentative person and I’ll always put my opinion forward, sometimes people won’t like that or won’t agree but then at a certain point, I’ve learnt now not to agree to disagree, I’ve learned to disagree and commit,” Cheika said.
“So if I might not like something, I’ll [still] back that person because I’ve got a relationship with them, that’s what we’ve got to do more of.
“I’ve seen a lot of everyone throwing grenades left, right and centre right now, and that’s not going to help rugby here at all.”
Cheika revealed that Rebels coach Tony McGahan had urged him to take an extra player to his Wallabies camp earlier this week despite that affecting his preparation for the Brumbies match this weekend.
“The Melbourne coach called me and said ‘You should be taking this other player you haven’t taken because he’s been really good and he’s been strong in a difficult season’, and I took him in,” Cheika said, refusing to reveal the identity of the player.
“And you think about the pressure [McGahan] is under and how hard he’s been doing it, he’s been copping plenty of grief, and yet he’s still thinking about us to say ‘I suggest that player, he should be coming in’.
“I really appreciate that from him.
“That’s what we’re trying to build, and it doesn’t happen in one night. You’ve got to keep doing it and doing it, and have respectful relationships with those coaches.
“We’re hoping at that next level up – because I’ve heard a lot of banter from different people – that will start to follow, about working together to get the right outcome instead of everyone smashing each other.”
Originally published as Cheika delivers call for unity
SOURCE: newsnow sport