Cheika to 'tackle' defensive issues

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 19:12

REACTION: Wallaby coach Michael Cheika has vowed to address the defensive frailties that saw his team cough up eight tries in a demoralising 34-54 loss to the All Blacks.

While New Zealand stamped their mark early on the Test match it was another blow to Australia following a woeful Super Rugby season, where Australian teams lost all their 26 games to New Zealand opposition.

Another low was that the game was played before the smallest Bledisloe Cup Test crowd at Sydney's Olympic stadium of 54,846.

"It was pretty plain to see that our defence wasn't good enough at all," Cheika told reporters.

"The adherence to the way we wanted to defend plus the tackling in itself has got to be better.

"That first part of the game is not at the level that you can be at all."

The All Blacks demoralised the tackle-shy Wallabies with a six-try opening half blitz to have the game wrapped up by half-time after a 40-6 landslide.

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They extended that to 54-6 after 48 minutes - before the Australians scored four tries of their own to remove the threat of their heaviest losing margin of 37 points (43-6) against New Zealand in 1996.

For context, the Wallabies missed a staggering 40 percent (37 from 94) of all tackles in the first half and there will be immense pressure on defence coach Nathan Grey given what the Waratahs dished up this year too.

Yet Cheika will continue backing Grey's defensive system, saying the Wallabies' problems stemmed from indecision.

"It's not attitude. It's maybe that little bit of doubt creeps in," he said.

"When something goes against you early - and we've been preparing a certain way - if it creeps in, a little bit of doubt, [you're thinking] half, will go I? will I hedge? That causes some of the problems."

Asked if he'd persist with Grey and his structures, Cheika said: "One hundred percent, one hundred percent."

"It's not the start we'd hoped for in this series and in particular this game," said Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.

Sources: AFP & AAP

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