Cheika is 'firing up' his forwards

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:06

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Michael Cheika versus Eddie Jones show might be the media highlight this week, but the Australian coach is not being distracted by the sideshow.

The Wallaby coach, Cheika, is busy firing up his forwards ahead of their encounter with the mighty England pack at Twickenham on Saturday.

Although the game is outside the World Rugby Test window - and some key players are missing - this year-end international is shaping up as one of the most anticipated matches of the season.

Following England's 3-0 June series whitewash of the Aussies, there is a 'revenge' undertone to the build-up.

Wallaby lock Rob Simmons said Cheika has been more volatile at training than he has been in some of his animated media sessions.

"I just think, you haven't seen anything if you think he's fired up in a media conference," Simmons said in an interview on the official Wallaby website.

"I haven't noticed too much [change]. Not much difference for us forwards, he gets stuck into us every day anyway."

While much of his anger is directed towards the forwards, with whom he does most of his hands-on coaching, Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley said Cheika's emotions weren't about his England counterpart.

"I think Cheika's pretty fired up in every meeting we have with him," he said.

"Probably he's more disappointed in the loss [against Ireland] this past weekend.

"It's such a big occasion getting to play England at home in Twickenham and they're going really well, they're a side who hasn't lost this year and it's a great challenge for us.

"That's probably where his excitement comes from."

England's series win came as part of a 13-Test winning streak and a victory over Australia would equal their longest-winning streak ever, but Simmons said they weren't out just to end their opponent's chances at history.

"I don't think this group needs extra motivation with things like that at the moment," he said.

"We're all pretty well-driven and we're excited about this game on the weekend but we probably don't use the history and things like that to get us up."

Foley said a forthright examination of their loss to Ireland would be motivation enough for the Wallabies, whose Grand Slam bid ended in Dublin.

"We watched the review and it wasn't that pretty, we left a lot of opportunities and created a lot of chances that we just didn't take and that was the disappointing thing and also that we probably took us the first 35 minutes to get into the game," he said.

"Against a quality side like Ireland you can't allow that to happen. For us, we had an honest review yesterday and I think we were very excited about the weekend ahead.

"It's something that you can put behind you, the thought of the Grand Slam and now focus on this game and playing England."