Wallabies want to prove worth to Perth

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says the only thing his team can do this week is deliver a performance that Perth fans can be proud of, after news that the Force is set for the axe.

Rugby WA lost its appeal against an arbitration decision that allowed the ARU to move on the Force, with the Supreme Court judgement handed down on Tuesday.

The sight of former Force skipper Matt Hodgson in tears earlier on Tuesday was a reminder of the emotion of the situation, and Cheika said that showed him as much as anything how important a good performance would be on Saturday against the Springboks.

“I made him a captain of Australia one time because he is a passionate player and he represents so well,” he said.

“So, it's a difficult time but the one thing we can do without trying to take anything away from the sadness that's being felt here from that regard is to go out there and show how much we want to play for Western Australians out on the field on Saturday and for the lads from the team that are inside the Wallabies as well.”

Billionaire Andrew Forrest came out swinging after the announcement, signalling plans to start a rebel competition in the Indo-Pacific region.

Cheika said it was too early to be thinking about the specifics of Test eligibility, when asked whether competing in such a competition, with no local alternative in Perth, would rule players out of playing for the Wallabies.

“It's a bit of a stretch at this point to be thinking about those things,” he said.

“You'd never say never, obviously, powerful men, they can make things happen.

“You've only got to go back and look at the different things like World Series cricket and Super League and in a way the way professional rugby started as well.

“They're the plans of one person obviously but as far as trying to calculate any possible ramifications at this point, that's still a little bit of crystal ball gazing.

“I think for me the only thing that's important is getting things right for Saturday, it's a big, big game for us.

Force and Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was ‘gutted’ by the decision, keen to repay the support of the WA public, after just one season in Perth.

“It's sad that, I know there's external factors, but it's pretty sad to know that it won't be there.

“I want to reward them for being such a big help in my career by giving them (a good performance), I know it shouldn't be a windup for a Test, but this'll definitely be emotional for me just because they've been a big help in my regard and I want to reward them, hopefully putting in a performance they can be proud of.”

Lock Adam Coleman, set to resume the lineout calling duties on Saturday night after overcoming a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the Dunedin Bledisloe, said he was looking forward to a special Test in Perth.

“Having that support network of my family and having the boys around, I think it's really helped me,” he said.

“You're so used to running out there in the blue jersey, and it makes it very special when you run out in the gold jersey.

“Every time is special but playing in your home environment in front of your friends and family that don't really have to travel that far, it's definitely very special.”