Waratahs have Smith in their sights
Sydney Morning Herald
Friday April 1, 2011
While the list of candidates for the Brumbies head coach job is now as long as the queue at the Soup Nazi's kitchen, the Waratahs also want to bolster their coaching ranks next season. The latest name to bob up as a candidate for a 2012 Waratahs coaching spot is England backs coach and former Wallaby Brian Smith. Waratahs sources have told R&M that Smith has, or is about to be, sounded out about whether he is interested in a gig at Moore Park. Smith does at least know the local scene, having coached at Eastern Suburbs. While some Waratahs officials are interested in Michael Cheika as a future head coach, he is eager to remain in Paris with Stade Francais. Cheika is also understood to be wary of several NSWRU officials. Springboks second-rower Victor Matfield was on the Waratahs' radar last year, to the extent he was approached about joining the coaching staff when he gave up playing. Matfield revealed in South Africa a few days ago that he had turned down two coaching offers in Australia. "My kids are going to school, and my wife, who is a dentist, has a career here," Matfield said at a function in Pretoria. "Maybe I'll drive the kids around when I'm retired and live off my wife, or take the easy life and go work for SuperSport [South African TV sports station]."BROTHERLY LOVEWaratahs back-rower Ben Mowen is never allowed to forget his Queensland roots. Mowen reveals in tonight's Waratahs-Chiefs match program his family keep reminding him he was brought up in Brisbane, and that he played seven games for the Reds before moving to Sydney in 2008. Asked what his family thinks of him now living and playing in NSW, Mowen said: "They don't really like it, to be honest. My brother sends me a message about once a week calling me a New South Wales wanker." Mowen's father, a former Brisbane club player, has had a hand in his son's career. Mowen went to rugby, "because my old man used to always say to me rugby league's a good game, but it's like playing chequers and rugby is like playing chess".GETTING HAIRYWith the Shute Shield starting tomorrow, the Sydney clubs do not have to be reminded of these tough financial times. Already there are whispers of club amalgamations. A club official was even threatened by a major sponsor recently when the sponsor was asked exactly when the money would appear. And another Sydney club has reinstated an official who was previously barred from their premises. Thankfully the once struggling Parramatta are on the way up. At their first game against Sydney University at Granville Park tomorrow, punters can buy fake moustaches and afro wigs to resemble Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who has vowed not to cut his hair until Parramatta win a first-grade game. If it happens, all mo' and 'fro wearers can have their photographs taken with the great man.BADGER ALERTA Honey Badger update. Last week's item about Force centre Nick Cummins fascination with the fearsome African beast prompted readers to get in contact to explain that the animal is also well known to many South Africans living in Australia for a different reason. The South African Defence Force produced and used an armoured troop carrier known as the Ratel (Raaa-Till), which is Afrikaans for Honey Badger. Many South Africans trained in this vehicle during their army days. And there weren't exactly tears at ARU headquarters yesterday when the news came through that Force chairman Geoff Stooke had retired. To say the relationship between some ARU officials and Stooke was frosty is an understatement.BALMAIN BEALEIt looks as if Waratahs fullback Kurtley Beale will be the next high-profile player to make an appearance with the Balmain subbies club. When the Waratahs appeared in their club garb to training on Tuesday to promote the start of the Shute Shield, Beale wore a Randwick jersey but the Muzzled Wolves socks - the same club Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell played for last year.RUMOURS- The Wallabies to have at least one training session in Christchurch during the World Cup.- A Waratah is somewhat red-faced after abusing an official at training. He didn't know who the official was. And a Wallaby is snubbing a club teammate because the underling is suddenly threatening his spot.- Strong mail Rebels five-eighth Danny Cipriani is talking to UK clubs.- Security to be bumped up at Boo-Hiss Stadium tonight after Waratahs waterboy Matt Burke stirred the crowd up with his provocative Herald column last week. Advice to Burke - just blame the SMH headline writers. We all do.QUOTE OF THE WEEK 'He does what he does. Sometimes he's an absolute shocker, but you wouldn't ever try to curb him.' Will Genia on Quade Cooper after his audacious in-goal cross-field kick last weekend.