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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 20 October 2017
Scarlets v Bath 18h45 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 21 October 2017
Australia v New Zealand 09h00 Brisbane
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 12h00 Scotstoun
Sharks v Blue Bulls 12h30 Durban
Treviso v Toulon 14h15 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Western Province v Golden Lions 15h00 Cape Town
Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Leicester Tigers v Castres 16h30 Welford Road
Munster v Racing Metro 16h30 Thomond Park
Saracens v Ospreys 18h45 Allianz Park
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0