Wallabies embrace diversity

by RUGBY.com.au staff

That some Wallabies were riding segways on Sunday night while David Pocock nestled up in bed to watch a David Attenborough documentary encapsulates the diversity of this Australia team.

From Pocock, a vocal social activist and philanthropist off the field with a vastly different view on life to many rugby players, to what Michael Cheika describes as the “jokers, lovers and fighters” in the team, everyone has a role to play.

A handful of the squad were born overseas - Pocock in Zimbabwe, Stephen Moore in Saudi Arabia, Will Genia in Papua New Guinea, Quade Cooper in New Zealand and Tevita Kuridrani in Fiji to name just a few.

Rather than differences being quashed, the squad’s unique personalities have been embraced by Cheika in an environment that bases itself on common sense not curfews, with electicism was a key element of the Wallabies team.

“I think we’ve got a team of very...diversity’s a good word,”he said.

“People who have come from all different sort of lands, their origin as well as very different characters.

“I think we’ve got the - I won’t say the extreme right - we’ve got the extreme left to the centre right in the way we think and we’ve got the jokers, the lovers, the fighters.”

Pocock is well known for his strong views on social issues and Cheika said spending time with him had given him greater insight into his personality.

“David’s a really interesting character,” he said.

“I only knew him previously as an opponent as opposed to someone I’m playing with or training with,” he said.

“He’s a very interesting character personally away from the game, very interesting to talk to and his thoughts.

“(Also seeing) the way he’s changing as well and his own evolution as a person and a player.”

Cheika and his players often speak of the Wallabies identity and the coach said on Monday that off-field development was just as important as that during games.

“That’s one of the big things for us is also growing up off the field, all of us maturing and that journey as well. He’s definitely an interesting guy off the field and I really like that in team.s I like to have lots of different characters and people who think differently about everything

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore he had learned from Cheika’s ability to galvanize a variety of personalities, rather than enforce a uniformity among the squad.

“There’s certainly, sometimes a tendency to want everyone to do the same thing and that’s not (what we do),” he said.

“Over my career I’ve learnt a lot about just allowing each character to express themselves in different ways and I’ve learned a lot from Cheik about that. I think that’s a big contribution to a team.”

Moore said the Wallabies’ “common sense” approach had benefitted the team.

“(Cheika) certainly allows different characters to express themselves," he said.

“We don’t have any rules around the place.

“We’ve got common sense and everyone doing their job really well and respecting each other.”

“You talk to any team and they’d say that’s one of the great things about playing as team sport is guys bringing different things from all different areas and that’s what makes it special.”