This week Michael Cheika is facing his biggest task of the season, navigating a tough fortnight in South Africa. To make matters even more difficult, he's now without Israel Folau for this weeks clash against the Sharks.
So what is Michael going to do?
He's going to adapt.
The loss of Folau will seriously dampen the Tahs running game, and Cheika was already cautioning this game style before the mercurial fullback was ruled out, saying.
"They play a field position-based game and because we wouldn't have the longest-range kicking game in the world, it means you have to be clever in how you manage that part of the game."
Cheika has named Jonno Lance at fullback for his first start this season, he has also demoted Alofa Alofa to the bench in favour of Rob Horne who can be a wall in defence. These moves indicate that the Waratahs primarily plan to play the field position game this week, instead of running it at every opportunity. The inclusion of Lance should massively help the Tahs field kicking, which has been woeful this year, mainly due to Bernard Foley's inability to kick it past half-way.
One thing is for sure, both the Sharks and the Waratahs are run by two very good coaches in Jake White and Cheika. Both will have ideas about how to exploit each other, Cheika said this week that he thinks South African teams expect Australian teams to fold under pressure, his response:
"It's up to us not to fold and to fight fire with fire, which we definitely won't be scared to do."