Next LIVE rugby on TV
to be announced
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:30:05 +0000
  • Switch Edition
ESPN SCRUM / Super Rugby 2014 / Reaction
Super Rugby
Michael Cheika hails 'spiritual leader' Wycliff Palu
February 24, 2014
New South Wales Waratahs made a barnstorming start to the season

Michael Chieka praised Wycliff Palu as the spiritual leader of New South Wales Waratahs after the veteran No.8 wound back the clock in the win over Western Force in Sydney on Sunday.

The Waratahs scored six tries in their second-best attacking start to a Super Rugby season, but Cheika paid tribute to the platform set by his big men up front.

Will Skelton was impressive at lock, and experienced front-rowers Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau set the agenda in the scrum. But Palu proved the difference in the forward battle as New South Wales recorded their impressive 43-21 win at Allianz Stadium.

Palu, 31, has been slowed in recent years by a relentless run of injuries, most recently a knee problem that ruled him out of the second half of last year, but he showed he still had plenty of fight with a bruising display that featured a first-half surge through the front-line and pass for Israel Folau to score his second try.

Cheika expects a big year from Palu, saying "he's had a really good training regime tailored to what he is and what he needs".

"I think he was very, very good today," Palu said. "Just his attitude and leadership - he's very much the spiritual leader of the team and that example is what others feed off." Dave Dennis said Palu was a player whom others followed, declaring him to be in his best shape for years.

"He's playing with the go-forward and physicality we want as a leader," the Waratahs said of his No,8. "He's a leader in his own right through what he does. Through actions more than anything."

Cheika, meanwhile, gave his new midfield combination of Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale a pass mark despite some errors.

"They didn't look out of place, put it that way. They were solid and that's what I want. I don't want them creating magic every two minutes. Our wider men got a lot of touches, which is usually a sign the inside guys are doing their bit."


Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Formula 1

    Hamilton quickest again in FP2

    Lewis Hamilton topped Friday practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg as the two Mercedes drivers prepared for round 11 of their championship battle

  • Football

    United to look beyond Hummels

    Manchester United have started to look at central defensive options beyond Mats Hummels as they are not confident of landing the Borussia Dortmund man, according to ESPN sources at Old Trafford

  • Football

    Wenger: Pep talk saved Ramsey's career

    Arsene Wenger has revealed how he helped save Aaron Ramsey from being hounded out of Arsenal by pulling his midfielder aside for a frank heart-to-heart talk 18 months ago

  • Football

    Jones: We can thrive with Van Gaal's tactics

    Phil Jones believes Manchester United can thrive with new manager Louis van Gaal's three centre-back system

  • Rugby

    Pierre relieved after surviving machete attack

    The three Clermont Auvergne players who were on the victims of a machete attack last weekend will sit out the start of the Top 14 season but are also speaking of how lucky they were to avoid serious injury

Sponsored Links
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!