Cheika: Aussies are hungrier

Sun, 06 Apr 2014 16:52
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Waratahs coach Michael Cheika believes that the Australian conference is more competitive this year because the teams have shown more hunger.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika believes that the Australian conference is more competitive this year because the teams have shown more hunger.

Cheika's team earned a valuable four points on the road against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday to make it three Australian teams in the top five with the Brumbies and Force also getting up for wins.

He said that the resurgence of Australian rugby this year is encouraging after being the 'poor cousins' of the SANZAR trio for so long.

"I like what I've seen from the teams so far this year – [they are] more hungry to be involved in the contest," he said.

"We've probably been the poor cousin of the SANZAR triumvirate for a while and it's about time we started to get into it a little bit more.

"That's not to say that we're going to win but at least make ourselves present and say 'we're going to have a go here' and get stuck in.

"It will be seen at the end of the season and who is in the finals but so far it's quite competitive," he added.

The Waratahs coach said that his team had caught the Stormers at an ideal time and took advantage to earn their first-ever win in Cape Town.

"To be fair to the Stormers, I think we got them at just the right time. They've come back from a long tour, they're missing several key players and we were a week into our three weeks so we were all feeling sharp.

"We got them in a good week. They had just had four weeks on tour, had a few injuries, no Jean de Villiers, no Schalk Burger, no Gio Aplon - so it hurt them.

"So I think we have to be realistic around that too, but we took advantage of the situation, put them under a bit of pressure and were able to come away with something."

"Without going too far away from our attacking game, which I don't think we did, one of the big things we wanted to do was build pressure," Cheika said.

He explained that with the Stormers already under pressure, he knew that they had a good chance of taking some points back to Australia with them as they get ready to face the high-flying Force in Perth.

"In a season where it seems the ledger of home-and-away wins is going to be quite important, any away win you get is going to be quite valuable.

"We knew the Stormers were under a little bit of pressure so [we were] trying to build a bit of pressure around keeping the ball in that part of the field instead of going for that one extra pass that we're guilty of sometimes at scrum and at line-out," he said.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 12 6 0 6 27
Reds 12 3 1 8 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 12 1 1 10 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9