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Cheika rules out brutal rematch

Michael Cheika has ruled out any repeat of a violence-scarred 2001 clash between New South Wales and the British and Irish Lions in Sydney on Saturday.

The game 12 years ago is still remembered for Waratahs' former Saracens and Gloucester fly-half Duncan McRae punching Lions back Ronan O'Gara 11 times while the Irishman lay prone on the floor. O'Gara subsequently had eight stitches put in a facial wound, while McRae received a seven-week ban following an incident that left a bitter taste and commanded global television replays.

"I think those days have gone," current Waratahs head coach Cheika said. "Even back then, it was over the top."

He added: "But physicality can occur in lots of ways - rucks, scrums and the contacts have got to be big from our lads.

"We have to be big. We can't hope just to contain them, and we can't hold anything back. If we have that mentality over 80 minutes, we might put a bit of a dent in their tank.

"Anything in red that moves we'll have a go at it."

Former Leinster and Stade Francais boss Cheika is without 10 players this weekend who are away with Australia currently preparing for next week's first Test against the Lions.

He has also has a number of players unavailable through injury, but he added: "We certainly won't be going out there to look for a glorious defeat.

"If there is a one per cent chance we can win the game we'll take that one per cent and do what we can with it."


From Belfast Telegraph