Waratahs not to risk star Wallaby Folau
New South Wales Waratahs' Israel Folau pictured in Sydney on September 17, 2013 - by Greg Wood
Leading tryscorer Folau will miss the Australian derby in Brisbane on Saturday due to a bruised thigh, with the Waratahs already assured of finishing top of the Super 15 standings and hosting a home semi-final.
"In another situation, maybe it would have been (worth the risk)," Cheika told reporters.
"But I'm more than confident with the team that we've got to play well up there."
Cam Crawford will replace Folau, with Wallabies lock Will Skelton to start instead of South African Jacques Potgieter in the only other change to the Waratahs side that thrashed the Otago Highlanders 44-16 last weekend.
"Of course you lose a lot of attacking prowess, a lot of security under the high ball as well, and a strong defensive man," Cheika said of the missing Folau.
"I know there's a lot of talk about winning and losing when Izzy's (Folau) playing and not playing, but I think we've lost just as many games when he's playing as when he's not playing.
"Rugby's a game of 15 men."
The Waratahs have lost two of their three games without Folau this season and only two out of 11 when the dual international has been playing.
Cheika said Folau's injury was not serious and he would be 100 percent fit and not underdone for the Tahs' semi-final in a fortnight's time.
Folau has scored 12 tries from 11 appearances for the Waratahs this season and is three tries clear of Canterbury Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo as Super Rugby's leading tryscorer this year.