Australian coach Michael Cheika has defended a controversial Wallabies rotation policy that has been adopted in Super Rugby, saying it will benefit the national sides fitness levels as they gear up for the World Cup.
The policy, which was agreed on by all four Australian Super Rugby clubs and Wallabies coaches, has been a sore point for not only players and teams but fans.
While there has been an acknowledgement that resting Wallabies representatives at various points throughout the Super Rugby season could benefit Cheikas side at the World Cup, some in rugby circles believe the policy is impacting on results.
The Waratahs were embarrassed by the Sunwolves 31-29 last week in Newcaslte, where they rested five-eighth Bernard Foley, centre Adam Ashley-Cooper and Jack Dempsey – three players on the Wallabies radar this international season.
Against the Blues on Saturday, the Waratahs will be without their captain Michael Hooper.
Teams are now having to strategically pick which games they rest their big-name stars and there are concerns that this affects the integrity of the competition.
Last week former Wallaby Greg Martin said Australia were copying New Zealands rotation policy for no good reason.
“I dont know if the research has been done properly,” said Martin on Fox Sports. “Were just copying what they did and it doesnt seem to be working to me.”
Fellow ex-Wallaby Drew Mitchell added: “If players are being rested, it needs to be rest. It shouldnt be a full week of training … that needs to be looked at.”
Speaking on a panel at Randwick Rugby Clubs season launch on Friday, Cheika said he could understand it was not ideal for everyone involved but argued why it was worthwhile.
“Yes its a sacrifice, I get it, but its an opportunity for other players to step up too,” Cheika said. “Its not a resting policy. We think we need to be fitter all round. Weve got to train harder, weve got to be more ready. Weve got some big games this year.
“If I was to look at the detail there are 10 players have got two games [off] and maybe another seven or eight might have one game [off]. Teams are allowed to pick which game they come out of … and the teams have been really good about it.
“In that week theyre off theyll spend that week training with our trainers, getting a bit more strength work and fitness work to compete at the very top level and be on even ground initially and being as fit as everyone else or fitter.”
Even in the aftermath of the Sunwolves defeat, NSW coach Daryl Gibson bRead More – Source