Deans defends Cheika's decision

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:16
Large israelfolautahstraining5

Michael Cheika was backed-up by Wallibies coach Robbie Deans over his decision to start Israel Folau at fullback against the Reds last Saturday.

Michael Cheika was backed-up by Wallibies coach Robbie Deans over his decision to start code-convert Israel Folau at fullback against the Reds last Saturday.

While Folau's debut in Super Rugby exposed deficiencies in his game, Deans believes that given time on the field he will make a full conversion to rugby union.

That time will be to Deans's benefit but he would only select Folau for the Wallabies if he believes he has developed his game to a sufficient standard.

Until then, the risk factor with the more game time Folau is given is the Waratahs' to handle.

But Deans supported Cheika when asked if he had made the right call by starting Folau in last Saturday's loss to the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

"Absolutely. You consider everything as a coach. And it's easy to sit from a distance. It's easy from the grandstand," the Wallabies coach told the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday at the launch of the 100 Day Countdown to the British and Irish Lions tour.

"He would have based his decision on a lot of background of what he had witnessed on the training field, what he had seen on pre-season fixture," Deans explained.

After a high-profile conversion from rugby league to AFL and then to union one could understand that his debut was going to be under the spotlight and that is not going to relent until he justifies his selection through his performances.

"It was a baptism of fire. It was always going to be. But he is a class footballer," Deans said.

"He will be back, don't worry about that.

"We anticipated he would come under a fair amount of scrutiny and [the Reds] would want to put him under as much pressure as possible. Clearly, he is a bloke who can make things happen. The Reds didn't want to be on the wrong end of that," the Wallabies coach added.

Where Folau plays in the Waratahs' first home game against the Rebels at the Allianz Stadium on Friday night remains to be seen, but Cheika has pledged to "invest" in him.

"He is a huge talent. He can play fullback. He can play wing. He can play 13," Deans said.

The interesting thing will be whether Folau can string together a number of good performances to catch the eye of the national coach with just over three months until the Lions make the trip down south.

As Deans mentions, Folau is a versitle rugby player and ths could play into his hands as he could provide cover in a number of backline positions

Although Folou did seem to be slightly out of his depth against the Reds there were glimpses of what he could do and believe that he will be looking to impress in front of his home crowd against the Rebels this weekend.

The pressure could rise on Cheika if Folau produces another below-par performance against the Rebels on Friday with the likes of Ben Volavola, Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper all capable of shifting into the fullback position.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4