SYDNEY - Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell is "not happy" at being axed but that's just how no-nonsense NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika wants it after ringing the changes for the Super Rugby clash with the Cheetahs tomorrow night.
Cheika yesterday made six personnel and two positional changes from the side thrashed 35-6 by the Brumbies on Saturday, with Mitchell and Test prop Sekope Kepu the highest-profile casualties.
Mitchell and Kepu were both omitted from the match-day 22 altogether, with Cheika saying there was no room for under-performing stars as the Waratahs sought to avoid a third loss from four starts this campaign.
"I want guys to fulfil their potential," Cheika told AAP. "Maybe I judge those guys at a higher standard. I don't think they've been playing poorly, but I think they've got more potential to achieve and I really want guys to play to the best of their ability at their own level."
Cheika said he had a two-part "private conversation" with Mitchell before and after axing the 60-Test winger.
"He's not happy, obviously. But I want them to be not happy. I want them to care about playing," Cheika said.
With Mitchell gone and new utility Ben Volavola relegated to the bench, Lachie Turner and Peter Betham have been promoted. Wallabies utility Berrick Barnes makes his first appearance.