VIDEO: Cheika checks expectations

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 08:01

REACTION: Coach Michael Cheika is preparing for a difficult Northern Hemisphere tour for his evolving team.

He made it clear nothing has changed for the Wallabies after their fighting win over New Zealand.

The Australians prevailed 23-18 in the Brisbane epic, repelling a late charge for just their second win in 19 encounters with the world champions in the Bledisloe Cup dead rubber.

New Zealand had already secured the trans-Tasman trophy for a 15th consecutive year following a heavy win in Sydney and a narrow escape in Dunedin.

The Wallabies outscored the All Blacks three tries to two with wing Reece Hodge landing two long-range penalty goals to keep New Zealanders at bay in a fast and furious Brisbane Test match to end the southern hemisphere Test season.

But Cheika put the Wallabies' gutsy win into context after a home season spiced with a defeat to Scotland and a 54-34 belting in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney in August.

"Our duty is to bring home the trophy, which we haven't done," Cheika told reporters after Saturday's victory.

"I'm happy for the players because they've been working hard, but the endgame is to bring home the [Bledisloe] Cup.

He said that ultimately the Wallabies had failed to do that.

"As enjoyable as the win was, the disappointment of not winning the Cup resonates for me. You know, New Zealand are only going to get better. We've got to improve as well."

"We've got to keep everything in context. For me, it's only two out of [the last] nine [against the All Blacks].

"But it's about improving. We're not starting to blow trumpets. It could have gone either way very easily."

Cheika was determined to keep the Wallabies' expectations anchored despite a euphoric win over the benchmark team in world rugby.

"We might be improving but we're still number three, having only just got back there," he said.

"You can't rest until you get back to the top. One win against the world champions doesn't win you anything."

The uplifting victory sets the Australians up for their Northern Hemisphere Tests in November against Japan, Wales, England and Scotland.

"We've got a huge tour coming up. Big games. Japan's going to be a huge game, a totally different challenge," Cheika said.

"And then Wales, a traditional rival and England, who smashed us up last year in Australia and Scotland, who beat us in June.

"It will a huge test for a lot of those young guys, who will be playing in those conditions for the first time ever."

The triumph was vindication for a big on-field call by skipper Michael Hooper to kick for the corner instead of taking an easier penalty goal option on offer midway through the second half.

The bold tactical move paid off when wing Marika Koroibete barrelled his way over in the corner on the other side of the field soon after.

"I thought the way to beat these guys is to do something they probably wouldn't expect. It paid off on that occasion because guys believed in the system," Hooper said.

The win was also a personal triumph for wing Hodge, whose 70-metre intercept try set the Wallabies rolling in just the eighth minute before his two thumping long-range penalties sealed it for his side.

"They are [difficult] but that's what you practise for - to make them high-percentage shots," Hodge said.

"It was good to finally get a couple over."

Agence France-Presse