Cheika blasts ARU over Folau omission

Date published: April 12 2014

Waratahs boss Michael Cheika has slammed the ARU for its decision to withdraw Israel Folau from the clash with the Western Force.

Waratahs boss Michael Cheika has slammed the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) for its decision to withdraw full-back Israel Folau from Saturday's clash with the Western Force.

Folau, who has been sidelined for two weeks with a throat injury, was initially named in the Waratahs' starting line-up for the match in Perth after being ruled fit by Waratahs medical staff.

But the ARU's chief medical officer Dr Warren McDonald decided to rule Folau out late on friday after receiving specialist advice on the injury.

Cheika said he received a scolding from a disappointed Folau who was keen to play. Cheika also revealed that the ARU had now breached their protocols twice with the Super Rugby franchises by seeking advice on Folau's condition without first consulting Waratahs team doctor Sharron Flahive.

“The whole system is predicated on trust, there's certain jeopardy around that now,” Cheika told AAP.

He stressed that Folau had undergone through all the medical tests over the past week before being given the green light to play.

“We've got a very experienced doctor who has seen this injury before,” added Cheika.

“We've put ourselves in the picture with lots of information. It's not black and white, it's not like having a broken leg.

“We've also considered the player and I think this is the biggest thing.

“We've been in contact with Israel every day. Last week we didn't feel he was ready so we didn't play him.

“This week he went through all the full contact training. He would have had more contact training on Tuesday than he would have in a game.”

“We went through all the tests that were required and I can tell you that no one from the ARU medical staff has spoken to Israel at all, which you have to think is a bit of a pre-requisite.

“I had to deal with him last night giving me a gobful because he's not playing. I didn't put him out.

“He's a very smart guy – he understands what his body can do and where he's at.

“From what I've heard from him, he's very very disappointed with the way it's gone down.”

When asked whether the NSW Rugby Union would launch a formal protest to the ARU about the way they handled the situation, Cheika said: “I'd say that we just do it out of process… I don't think it's going to make any difference.”

With Folau out, Cheika has moved Kurtley Beale to full-back from inside centre, with Jono Lance returning to the run-on side to wear the number 12 jersey.