Australian coach Michael Cheika organised a low-key training session earlier this month to use Randwick colts players as guinea pigs to test out Wallabies attack and defence structures as planning for the Rugby World Cup ramps up.
The one-off Monday evening session was held at Latham Park in South Coogee with 35 or so colts players who were not told Cheika, a proud Randwick man, and Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey would be surprise guests at training.
No photos were allowed and players were asked to keep the session under wraps.
"Michael didnt want a big hoo-ha around it and we didnt even tell our grade guys," Randwick Rugby general manager Travis Partridge told the Herald.
"For new players to the club, who have just come to the Randwick and have heard about the history, within the first six weeks of colts training theyve got the Wallabies coaches training them. As you could imagine, they got pretty excited."
While Cheika and Greys involvement was warmly received by the club, with their main goal was to road-test a number of highly detailed attacking and defensive plays to see how an amateur rugby team would react.
We had a few training sessions with them [Randwick] just to see what works, what doesnt and how do we coach it … and what the questions are that come up.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika
After a terrible 2018, in which the Wallabies won four of their 13 Tests, Cheika and his assistants have been working over-time to develop a blueprint to help the team reproduce the form that saw them make the final of the 2015 World Cup.
But this experiment was certainly a left-field one, even by Cheika's standards.
Randwick was asked to provide two fifteen-a-side teams to go head-to-head with one another. Cheika, with the attacking team, and Grey, with the defenders, talked through structures they wanted players to adhere to as well as different plays to try out.
"We had a few training sessions with them just to see what works, what doesnt and how do we coach it … and what the questions are that come up," Cheika told the Green and Gold Rugby Podcast. "Just trying to do as much as we can to be ready to our absolute best as a coaching team.
"When we get [players] theyre coming from all different systems of play."
Over the 40-minute session, Cheika and Grey got hands-on with the group and showed them individual areas of their own game they could improve.
However, getting a gauge on what structures the Wallabies will roll out wasnt an easy task for onlookers.
"They didnt really let us know what they were looking for," said Randwick colts coach Peter Dumbleton. "I dont know the full Wallabies attacking structure, so Im not sure what they tweaked. They said they were going to try and tweak one or two things before the World Cup.
"They put the thumbs up and said 'can we have five more minutes?' I said you have an hour and a half! Our blokes were blown away."
Different attacking scenarios were run off the halfback and No.10 as Cheika watched on with an analytical eye.
Even if Cheika and Grey happened to come to the conclusion they didn't get a whole lot out of the exercise, the running lines and defensive cues they offered up to the colts side will be used by the Galloping Greens for the upcoming season.
Cheika has not faced the media since Stephen Larkham was axed as WallaRead More – Source