SYDNEY - NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is banking on a proven formula as he strives to complete a feat of overseeing title triumphs in second-tier rugby competitions in both hemispheres.
In 2009, Cheika guided Ireland's Leinster to the Heineken Cup, the northern hemisphere's major tournament below Test level, contested by leading European club and provincial teams.
On Saturday, Cheika can add the southern hemisphere's closest equivalent by winning the Super Rugby crown with NSW.
He is adopting a similar lead-up to the one that paid dividends five years ago. Cheika, who is in his second season with NSW, noted parallels between the two campaigns.
Both Leinster and NSW vanquished a fierce domestic rival in their respective semi-final to book a showdown with a celebrated and consistent trophy-winning team from another country.
"In that season we (Leinster) had to overcome a domestic rival (Munster) before we went on to (English club) Leicester, which had a rich heritage in winning European cups," Cheika recalled.