Cheika hits back at Wallaby critics

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:23

INTERVIEW: Australian coach Michael Cheika struck back Friday at mounting criticism of his side as he looks for a face-saving performance in Saturday's second Test against New Zealand.

After being humiliated 42-8 in Sydney last week, the Wallabies have been publicly rubbished by fans, the media and even former Test players ahead of the return match in Wellington.

But Cheika suggested such a reaction was un-Australian and true supporters would back the team.

In a scathing review, former Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock said the side had problems across the board.

"There's set piece issues, there's defence issues, there's breakdown issues, there's kicking issues ... there's not many good things going on currently," Mortlock said.

Former Test player Clyde Rathbone said the Wallabies were delusional about their ability, adding they were "almost certainly not going to win" the return clash.

But Cheika put on a brave face, saying the team had conducted a thorough analysis of last week's performance and believed they had addressed the key issues.

"Obviously it's going to be a difficult match to come back into after last week," he said.

"Over the week you've got to regain your confidence and your belief and say 'how are we going to do this?'

"Internally we understand exactly what we need to do."

But Cheika said the barbs from former Wallabies hurt, although a lot of other players had made contact with the team and offered their support.

"When it gets tough, it's very easy for people to jump on and put the boot in and we have to take it because we haven't performed," he said.

"But when it gets tough that's the time you show your colours. I know where my colours are.

"At the end of the day, no matter what sport Australia's playing I'll be supporting them no matter what," he said, recalling how he backed former Australian cricket great Greg Chappell when he went through a bad patch against the West Indies in 1981.

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore also dismissed the criticism.

"All I care about is my teammates and coaches and what we're doing internally because they provide enough motivation for me to want to do well."

Agence France-Presse

Sharks vs Blue Bulls
sast: 15h00 | local: 15h00

  • 0 | 0
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 23 September 2017
Saracens v Sale Sharks 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bath v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Recreation Ground
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 14h15 Sportsground
Western Province v Griquas 15h15 Newlands
Kings v Zebre 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 24 September 2017
London Irish v Northampton Saints 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 14h00 Sandy Park
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
South Africa 4 2 1 1 11
Australia 4 1 1 2 8
Argentina 4 0 0 4 0