Club News

Cheika has Shute Shield firmly in his sights

02 Apr 2013
By NSWRU Media Unit

As the 2013 Sydney Premiership prepares to kick off in just four days’ time, HSBC Waratahs Head Coach Michael Cheika has hailed the Shute Shield as critical to developing the state’s Super Rugby players of the future.   
“We are very serious about making our club competition a direct feeder for our NSW team,” Cheika said today.
With over half the current players from the HSBC Waratahs squad coming up through the ranks of Sydney club rugby, the head coach says he is intent on restoring a strong connection between the Shute Shield competition and the NSW representative team, highlighting his plan to use club rugby in Sydney as a foundation for players to step up from into his senior NSW squad.
“We want the clubs to become mini academies for us so we can download to them and they use what they want from that to produce players,” he said. “That’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it is going to go back to.”
With the tournament kicking off on Saturday, today saw 12 Sydney Rugby representatives, one from each of the Shute Shield clubs, come together to launch the 2013 season.
“The biggest thing we can give them is credibility in the way that we are paying respect to the tournament,” Cheika said.
“We want a real community thing, we will be watching everyone that needs to be watched in the state schools, juniors and colts so we can start developing our strength from a lower base.”
After a long pre-season, the players themselves are eager to get stuck in when the tournament kicks off this Saturday, April 6. Round one sees last year’s grand finalists Southern Districts taking on Eastwood in the first of the season’s televised matches on ABC1 at 3pm.
With many new-look teams and a long pre-season under their belts, Southern Districts’ captaincy contender Jono Hayes says that it’s time for players to do their talking on the field. “It’s a totally new season; last year’s results have no bearing on this year’s performances. We have to start from scratch and it’s now a level playing field,” he said.
With Cheika keeping his eye on the competition, players will be stepping it up to prove that they are ready for the next level of rugby, making the 2013 Shute Shield competition one to watch.

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