Cheika not letting Waratahs sit back and relax yet

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is keeping has kept his team fit and fresh for the Super Rugby semi-finals by putting them through a tortuous training session.

The Wartatahs will host a Super Rugby Semi-final next weekend and this weekend off but Cheika wants to keep his players fit and remind them that there is still plenty of work to do.

Waratahs players were sent a text message instructing them to turn up at Centennial Park at sunrise and an intense session of hill sprints, boxing and wrestling followed.

The training session resembled something that is normally done in the pre-season instead of the usual regime to tapering of on the fitness training and focusing on skills.

“The text message pretty much ruined my day yesterday,” joked Sekope Kepu.

“The boys were there at 7am and we ripped in and that’s what it’s all about. That pre-season feeling of working hard together and enjoying it.

“It’s about going to the end, going to the final whistle, never giving in, never giving up. It’s more for that mental edge,” Kepu told The Daily Telegraph.

“You can run the hills and it’s not really going to do much (for fitness) two weeks out from a semi next week, but it is getting that attitude and mentality from everybody to work hard together.”

The heavy morning training session was followed by weights and then an afternoon session on the field where the forwards were put through an intense scrummaging session.

Last year the Waratahs had a week off at the same time of the season and it helped to remind the players that although they won a title last year to win back to back titles will require them to put in a big effort right to the last second of their last match.

Israel Folau said that the fitness and training session was a good reminder of the mindset the players will need to have if they are to retain their title.

“It was more to get the boys around together and to make sure we work hard, and push each other to the limit. Take ourselves to a limit where you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable, but that’s what you face in a game,” Folau said.

“You probably wouldn’t get any results out of it in terms of fitness, because most guys are pretty conditioned at this time of the year. “

“But it is more so about getting the boys around in a good mental state, where we are working hard and trying to push through those barriers. It is more so that, and those little challenges in a game that you push yourself, that’s what we’re trying to put ourselves in.”

The Waratahs won’t know who they will be playing next week until the final whistle goes this weekend in the Stormers v Brumbies match. They only know that they will host the highest-ranked winner of this weekend’s qualifying finals – either the Stormers, Chiefs or Highlanders.

The Brumbies are the lowest ranked team so if they beat the Stormers they will play the Hurricanes.

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