Greg Growden August 05, 2012
Out with the old, in with the interim ... Alan Gaffney with former coach Michael Foley. Photo: Steve Christo
Waratahland is getting wackier by the minute. Only the Waratahs would appoint a person as their interim coach who mid-season was under serious threat of being sacked by the same organisation. Sunday Maul has confirmed with numerous team sources that Alan Gaffney, yesterday named interim coach until a head coach is appointed, was under serious threat of being squeezed out by the Waratahs hierarchy mid-season as part of a cost-cutting campaign. We've also been told an email trail confirms Gaffney was being targeted. And the Waratahs continued to be the masters of the secrecy act yesterday by sending out a press release which said a rugby sub-committee had been appointed to oversee the head-coach appointment process. The only problem is, that they don't tell us who is actually on the sub-committee. Bozo the Clown and the Three Stooges maybe? No wonder they don't want to tell us.
FRIENDSHIP ON HOLD
There have been some sensational temper tantrums as candidates angle for the Waratahs coaching job. One casualty is the once-strong friendship between Gaffney and Michael Cheika, who has the support of many influential NSW rugby figures to take the position. We've been told the Gaffney-Cheika link is now strained. Also, a Waratahs official has been very silly, making derogatory remarks about Cheika to a NSW player. There will be repercussions. For good reason, Cheika is unimpressed with being undermined by misleading and often wrong allegations, including that money is his prime motivation for wanting to be involved with the Waratahs. That is far from the truth. And for the record, Cheika was hotly pursued by the Western Force. Force insiders told Sunday Maul that Cheika visited Perth recently to talk to their officials. He was frank enough to tell them the Waratahs position was his ideal return job in Australia, but as it wasn't open at the time, he would not push for it.
STATE OF CONFUSION
The Force are boasting they have a new director of rugby after Michael Foley defected to Perth, but behind the scenes there is endless drama. There appears to be confusion about the head coach role, with Todd Louden and Brian Melrose among the candidates, while two Waratahs were surprised to get a nasty text message from a Force official yesterday. Another Force official hasn't helped himself with pathetic remarks about David Pocock after he decided to leave for the Brumbies. The official's remarks about Pocock were appalling. And don't be surprised if you see Waratahs halfback Sarel Pretorius at the Force next year.
RUMOURS OF THE WEEKEND
❏ A high-ranking official at an under-performing Australian province could be gone within days after a harassment complaint from a hospitality match-day employee.
❏ Despite denials of rifts within the Waratahs squad, we can confirm many NSW players are not happy with the political manoeuvring of a high-profile player in the squad.
❏ Numerous players at an Australian province have told their coach and CEO that if they don't sack the notorious official ''Radio'' and get rid of his mate ''the Wizard'', they will ''go public''.