Cheika blows up over Folau

Sat, 12 Apr 2014 07:20
Large michael cheika tahs gesture

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is furious with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) after they ruled that Israel Folau is not fit to face the Force in Perth.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is furious with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) after they ruled that Israel Folau is not fit to face the Force in Perth.

The forthright Cheika is particularly disappointed with the medical protocols and systems in place which do not take the opnion of the Waratahs' medical staff into account.

The ARU's chief medical officer Dr Warren McDonald made the decision late on Friday after getting specialist advice on the throat injury that kept the fullback out of the Waratahs' last two matches in South Africa.

Cheika said the ARU had now twice broken their protocols with the Super Rugby franchises by seeking advice on Folau's condition without first going through Waratahs team doctor Sharron Flahive.

"The whole system is predicated on trust, there's certain jeopardy around that now," Cheika told AAP from Perth on Saturday.

Cheika stressed that Folau had gone through all required medical tests over the past week.

"We've got a very experienced doctor who has seen this injury before," Cheika said.

"We've put ourselves in the picture with lots of information. It's not black and white, it's not like having a broken leg.

"We've also considered the player and I think this is the biggest thing.

"We've been in contact with Israel every day. Last week we didn't feel he was ready so we didn't play him.

"This week he went through all the full contact training. He would have had more contact training on Tuesday than he would have in a game," he said.

Cheika explained that the lack of communication from the ARU meant that the player himself was unaware of what was going on, and gave the coach a 'gobful' to express his disappointment.

"We went through all the tests that were required and I can tell you that no one from the ARU medical staff has spoken to Israel at all, which you have to think is a bit of a pre-requisite.

"I had to deal with him last night giving me a gobful because he's not playing. I didn't put him out.

"He's a very smart guy - he understands what his body can do and where he's at.

"From what I've heard from him, he's very very disappointed with the way it's gone down."

Asked if he thought the NSW Rugby Union would formally protest to the ARU about their handling of the situation, Cheika said: "I'd say that we just do it out of process... I don't think it's going to make any difference."

With Folau out, Cheika has shifted Kurtley Beale to fullback from inside centre, with Jono Lance restored to No.12.

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