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Cheika: I like to rough players up to get results

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

SPORTSFILE

Michael Cheika

The Man in Black is back.

Michael Cheika has shed the straight black Armani suits for the Australian hoodie.

"Yeah, I saw everyone else was wearing one (suit), so I thought I would do the opposite, you know what I mean," he jested.

It has been his way, to swim against the tide of public opinion. "I have always seen myself as a bit of an outsider from the establishment, per se," he said.

When Ewen McKenzie got sucked in and sunk by the Kurtley Beale scandal, the Australian Rugby Union turned to an authoritative figure.

"I didn't think they would ask me to do it. When they did, you can't say 'no' when your country asks you."

Cheika's coaching career really started at Leinster in 2005 when chief executive Mick Dawson was looking for a fourth coach in four years.

"No one would have given a hobo like me the opportunity to come and coach. They took a gamble on me."

KINGPINS

It took him four years to take Leinster from 'ladyboys' to European kingpins, putting in place a hard-nosed mental edge that lives on.

Cheika went back home to transform The Waratahs from under-achievers into Super-15 champions this summer.

The reputation as a troubleshooter could just have convinced the ARU that he was the man for them.

He doesn't want to reinvent the wheel but does want a culture change.

"It's tough. You don't always make friends on the way," he accepted.

"You've got to rough a few people up and you can rub people up the wrong way but it is always with the best intentions for the result at the end."


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