Next LIVE rugby on TV
to be announced
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:30:05 +0000
  • Switch Edition
ESPN SCRUM / Super Rugby 2014 / Reaction
Follow@ESPNSCRUM
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."

© AAP

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Japanese GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Tennis - China Open
  • Boxing

    WBO to investigate Smith's defeat

    Paul Smith could be granted a world title rematch against Arthur Abraham after the WBO admitted one of its judges "screwed up" in Germany on Saturday

  • Football

    Nani in the dark over United future

    Nani admits he is unsure if he has a future at Manchester United and does not know what will happen to him after his loan spell at Sporting Lisbon ends

  • Tennis

    Wozniacki crashes out in Beijing

    Caroline Wozniacki suffered a shock exit to Samantha Stosur in the second round of the China Open as rain played havoc with Wednesday's schedule

  • Formula 1

    Honda: McLaren not ready for driver announcement

    Honda's head of motorsport Yasuhisa Arai says there has still been no decision on McLaren's 2015 driver-line up ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix

  • Formula 1

    De Silvestro's Sauber deal breaks down

    Simona de Silvestro's hopes of becoming the first female F1 racer since 1976 have suffered a setback after Sauber ended her testing deal due to "financial reasons on her side"

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!