One Percenters: I should have quit before 2019 Rugby World Cup - Cheika, Aussie Sevens women show strength

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by Beth Newman

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he stayed on as national mentor too long and regrets not walking away at the end of the 2018 season.

In an interview with the UK's The Times, Cheika said the appointment of Scott Johnson as director of Rugby in December 2018 should have been a "cue" for him to walk away.

In a footy team there can only be one boss, that’s all there is to it,” Cheika told the Times.

“I should have left because that shows they didn’t trust me anymore. But I loved Australian rugby and I thought I could do it, I believed I could get the players together and I didn’t want to let the players and the supporters down. I compromised myself in that way. In reflection, that’s a lot easier to assess.

“I tried to manage it the best way I could without being out of order.

“If you cause turbulence at that point, everyone feels it and I didn’t need everyone to feel the turbulence in the team. You have to deal with it internally. Apart from the one day when we left Japan, I never spoke about it publicly.

“If I looked at it again, when those things happened, that should have been my cue to say, ‘This is not happening.’ I understand where I sit, I have people I have to report to, and if they [the Rugby Australia management] choose that then I have to make decisions accordingly."

Cheika's position appeared to be under threat at the end of 2018 before Johnson was appointed but then attack coach Stephen Larkham was ultimately the only member of the coaching team to move on ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Cheika resigned as Wallabies coach the day after Australia's quarter-final exit from the World Cup and in his departing press conference said he had next to no relationship withe chairman Cameron Clyne and CEO Raelene Castle, both of whom have resigned in 2020.

Currently working as a coaching consultant with the NRL's Roosters, Cheika said he still felt like he still had a desire to take up the clipboard again.

"I have definitely still got inside me the ambition for coaching,” he says.

“The one thing I love doing is footy. It is never a job, it’s a passion. I really think that in the right environment I can really thrive. In Australia, it worked for the first part, not the second.

“I’ve always felt that I couldn’t ever go back and coach against a team I’ve already coached. I feel that’s almost being a traitor; I know this is probably not very cool or modern day professional. But that’s been in my mind with a couple of conversations I’ve had in France."

Giteau law review paused in pandemic

Concerns of overseas departures haven't triggered any detailed reviews of Rugby Australia's Giteau Law.

Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson told media on Saturday that the clause, which allows overseas-based players with more than 60 Test caps to be picked for the Wallabies, was set to be reviewed before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sport.

"We review all our regulations every year," he said.

"The Giteau Law has been discussed and then the pandemic hit and we didn't really get to communicate that at any great length at board level."

Incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has previously expressed his desire to have Test players playing in Australia and that's a stance that's not believed to have changed.

Johnson said there was also a sense that Rugby Australia wanted to reward players who have agreed to pay cuts to stay in Australian rugby with the opportunity to push for Test spots.

"We constantly update because it's a changing world which we live in but I want to emphasise that we're a resilient country, we're a resourceful country and out of it we'll uncover other people too. We want to be respectful for the 189 people that have agreed to stay.

"Our energy goes into that because out of it, our country's history tells us we'll come out good."

A Sonny day for Whites in isolation

The boys

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Congratulations to Wallabies halfback Nic White and his wife Melissa, who welcomed a second child into their clan this week.

New arrival Sonny Thomas joins first-bon son Leo in the White family.

Aussie Sevens women show their strength

If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying 3rd time lucky - 90kg Power Clean @humanperformancetc Hype girls: one and only @cassiestaples_ & @maddieashby_

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Bench PB Today 105KG Yewwwwww

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The Aussie Sevens women have made some big gains in isolation and it's showing, as the team reconvened in Sydney this week.

Vani Pelite, who has had an interrupted season because of injury before the pandemic hit, has clearly been putting her iso time to good use.

Pelite posted this clip during the week of a 90kg power clean lift, showing that her strength has not faded despite being away from the usual gym.

Speedster Ellia Green showed off her own weights PB during the week, clocking a 105kg bench press.