Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has described the Chiefs' recruiting of young players in Australia as a 'smart move'.
The Chiefs are playing the Reds in Brisbane tonight and staff used the trip to hold a recruitment training session for two dozen eligible youngsters keen to link up with the New Zealand franchise.
"I don't see it as an issue," Cheika told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB. "For us, we need to have had contact with a lot of those players, and they need to have been in our system - where they want to stay. You can't have it both ways, you can't have these guys when it suits you, but then not want them to be taken away either."
"Recruitment across professional sport is probably the number one priority. It's a smart move by the Chiefs."
Cheika's take was in direct contrast to the Daily Telegraph's rugby writers, who ramped up the jingoism and described it as "one of the most brazen trans-Tasman recruitment ploys in history."
Descriptions of "poaching" and "secret" added another layer of xenophobia to the story before the final kicker that "the ARU and Australian franchises will be fuming about the prospect of some of their best talent being poached from right under their noses."
Cheika also commented on the fallout from Australia's recent 3-0 series loss to England where he opted to stay quiet and not get drawn into a war of words with Eddie Jones.
"Your own coach over there (Steve Hansen) had a crack at me for not having a go back - and trying to pretend that I am the world - but I'm still new at coaching international level and I'm not up to getting into that, and I don't think with the national team that's the go either. I prefer to stay humble and work hard on my own self, and then my troops and work hard and see where the cards fall. All that other stuff is just extras."
Cheika said the decision to stay quiet was not difficult.
"I wasn't doing it because I felt it was a good tactic, I was doing it because that's what I want to do. I want to get Australia sorted out with the right depth, the right kind of play, the right mental state to be consistently good."