Usually cautious Chieka happy to let flamboyant import spread excitement as maiden Super title beckons
Star import Jacques Potgieter believes the Waratahs are unstoppable in their quest for a long-awaited maiden Super Rugby crown.
And cautious coach Michael Cheika has no qualms with the former Springbok talking up the Waratahs, despite the obvious dangers of supplying their rivals with added ammunition.
Lured from the Bulls at the start of the year, Potgieter has been a believer since day one and even tipped the Tahs for title glory when they were languishing mid-table mid-season.
The abrasive forward certainly isn't backing off now that the Waratahs have captured the minor premiership with a club-record seven straight wins.
"With the boys we've got here, it's amazing talent and, since the beginning with all those guys, it's been so special," Potgieter said. "I knew that when the boys were going to click and get it all together that we would be unstoppable."
The Waratahs have this weekend off before hosting the Brumbies, Chiefs or Highlanders in a sudden-death semifinal at Allianz Stadium on Saturday week.
"It doesn't matter who we play in the semis. If we just concentrate on our stuff and do our own things well, we're going to be unstoppable," Potgieter said. "I can't wait for that day when the guys peak and just everything goes correctly to plan. On that day, it's going to be very dangerous and very exciting to watch."
Since the pre-season, Cheika has made no secret of his side's aim to finish top two in the minor premiership in order to secure a home final, but he's also been at pains not to talk up the Waratahs' title prospects. Now, though, he's relishing the chance for the Waratahs to finally deliver.
"That's what you play the game for. That's why we're here. This is unreal," Cheika said. "There's more at stake because it's knockout and we know that. But we're prepared to take the consequences of however we play, good or bad."
Cheika sees no value in gagging his players, or asking them to tone down the talk.
"Jacques is like our showman, and we let him do that because it's fun," he said. "We're very aware that just because we finished first that we haven't got any right to win anything."
Cheika's excitement came despite tryscoring ace Israel Folau not training with the team on Thursday plus winger Taqele Naiyaravoro and flanker Stephen Hoiles - the side's chief lineout caller - finishing early.
Folau, who missed the Waratahs' last-up win over the Queensland
Reds with a corked thigh, was confined to gym work, but Cheika insisted he was fine and merely managing his body.
Naiyaravoro and Hoiles both ended the session icing leg knocks that the coach also wasn't bothered about.