Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson was one of the first people to recognise the mighty coaching potential in newly-appointed Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika.
Dawson gave Cheika his first big international coaching gig at the Irish club in 2005 – and it paid off. Within four seasons they won the European premiership.
Before turning the Irish club around, and then going on to make a name for himself as head coach for New South Wales, Cheika was relatively unheard of on the Australian football scene.
A former Randwick rugby player himself, Cheika’s first coaching role was with Padova, Italy 1999. But it wasn’t a successful season for the newbie so when he returned to Australia he tried his hand at his old team, Randwick, which he lead to win the Shute Shield premiership in 2004.
Dawson says the reason why he initially brought Cheika on as coach was because he “had the anger, the energy and the drive” the team needed.
“He did drive the organisation and drove all of us hard, not only the players but the people who were in charge,” Dawson said. “That’s what he was about and he had a clear vision of where he wanted to go and how he wanted to get there.”
This sound exactly like the type of person the troubled yet talented Wallabies need.
The 29-28 loss against the All Blacks was reflective of the team’s lacklustre 2014 season. But the resignation of Ewen McKenzie was the cherry on the cake.
Let’s hope Cheika proves his worth in Europe. The Wallabies depart for their Spring tour this afternoon. Their first match is against the French Barbarians on November 1 in London.
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