Defeats will make Wallabies better

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 08:51

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia has an alarmingly low 25 percent success rate this year and have dropped from second on the world rankings to fourth.

And with another seven matches to come - including encounters with New Zealand and England, both whom have whitewashed the Wallabies already this year - that winning percentage is unlikely to rise much higher.

However, Wallaby coach Michael Cheika is adamant that the 'internal scars' from the six defeats they have already suffered this year will make them a better team.

Speaking to the media ahead of their final Rugby Championship encounter of the year - a historic match against Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday - the Wallaby coach insists he is seeing positives from all the defeats.

In addition to having already blooded 10 new players, with more to come this weekend, Cheika said the raw wounds from defeats to the All Blacks (twice), England (three times) and South Africa (once) will work for Australia in the long run.

"It will be the making of us in the end," the coach told the media gathering.

"Tough times breed better times later on," he added.

"Yeah we went through a tough patch early on in the year, but we'll get plenty from that later on.

"I don't want to sound like I'm a cliche guy but that's definitely what happens - in my experience in this game.

"You go through great times and then you can go through tougher times, and that will always lead to giving you the scars on the inside to have better times later on."

Key playmaker Quade Cooper echoed similar sentiments - pointing to his tough entry into Super Rugby with the Reds which blossomed into a title in 2011 as proof that hard times breed hard people.

But still, last Saturday's 10-18 loss to the Springboks cut deep for the 28-year-old.

"Like Cheika said, it's one of the best games we've played all year," Cooper said.

"We created so many opportunities, players were in a lot of space but we just didn't finish it off. That's what hurts so much."

* Meanwhile Cheika sees more Tests being played in neutral venues in the future, but he's not keen on Australia coughing up its home fixtures.

Saturday's will be the first Rugby Championship Test played outside the Southern Hemisphere, after Los Pumas sold off their homeground advantage to shift the game to Twickenham.

"I think there's opportunities to play all over the place," he said.

"That's the commerce of the game and the different opportunities in the commerce of the game.

"It's happening and that's going to happen more and more .

"The stadia are tendering for games, everyone's into it.

"It's a matter of trying to fit those into the fixtures but also without leaving your home crowd."

While he's a vocal supporter of the general concept, Cheika said he wouldn't be happy for it to come at the expense of one of the Wallabies' Australia-based matches.

"For us in Australia, we get only a few games a year at home," he said.

"We love playing in front of our home crowd, so I wouldn't be too keen on letting any of our home games go, I'll assure you of that.

"Argentina, I imagine, have got a reason for bringing their home game here and for us it's exciting to be able to.

"The thought of playing Argentina in England - back in the day would never have even thought it was happening unless it was just a friendly game or something like that."

Sources: rugby.com.au & AAP

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