Ewen McKenzie believes Michael Cheika will continue to coach the Waratahs in his trademark passionate heart-on-sleeve manner, despite it having landed him in hot water with SANZAR during last Saturday’s loss to the Sharks in Durban.
McKenzie, the Wallabies coach, also said it was unlikely that Cheika will be distracted by the controversy in which he is the subject of a complaint by the television broadcaster, Super Sport, that alleged he abused a cameraman on the sidelines in the second half.
The complaint comes in a week that has seen the Brumbies invoice Cheika for damage to a glass door in the Waratahs coach’s box after NSW's loss to them in Canberra on March 15, and Sharks coach Jake White firing off several verbal digs at the NSW coach leading up to last Saturday’s game.
On Thursday, the Waratahs were still waiting for SANZAR’s ruling on the Super Sport complaint; but McKenzie believes Cheika will remain fully focused on preparing his side for this Saturday (local time) against the Stormers in Cape Town.
"Everyone handles themselves in different ways," McKenzie said after announcing the Wallabies Bush2Bledisloe road tour throughout regional NSW on August 4-8 to meet Wallabies fans before the first Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Sydney on August 16.
"We all have different personalities. He is not a rookie coach. He knows the system, how it works.
"They don’t give a guide book to coaching when you get a head coaching job.
"You just have to manage it. He will manage it and just get on with it. The best tonic under pressure is a win.
"He will be concentrating on getting an outcome against the Stormers, [and if he does] then the discussion becomes a different one."
McKenzie lauded Cheika for turning around the culture at the Waratahs and said the blueprint was similar to what he implemented when coaching in Ireland, Italy and France.
"He has obviously worked very hard on trying to create a different culture. He leads from the front. That’s his style," McKenzie said.
"It has been successful for him. He has coached a lot … in Ireland he had a lot of success there. He has coached in France. He has coached in Italy.
"When you coach on those environments, as I have, you understand the emotional engagement in the game."
Meanwhile, McKenzie said he is well into strategising a Wallabies game plan to take on France for their inbound three Test tour in June.
"We are spending all our time looking at the French at the moment. We had a very good look at the Six Nations. We have already got draft game plans in place and training plans and all sorts of detail ... [But] the French are notoriously difficult to play," McKenzie said.
McKenzie also alluded to some new faces appearing in the Wallabies squad, based on performances so far in this year's Super Rugby competition.
"Looking at the Super Rugby, it's about some of the new guys that are poking their noses through, and thankfully there are a whole bunch of guys putting their hands up," McKenzie said.