Wallabies belief continues to build

by Staff Writer

Less than a year ago, Michael Cheika took up the reins of the Wallabies, ready to rebuild the team from the inside out.

Appointed just days before his first game in charge, the former Waratahs mentor’s first step was to instil belief, a quiet internal confidence that has grown with each of the wins they have notched up this season.

They are undefeated in their Rugby World Cup pool so far, with their two biggest games to come but Cheika said that belief will never waver.

Cheika said it didn’t dissolve when the All Blacks took the Bledisloe at Eden Park once again and it won’t dissipate now.

England come into the match off a shock loss to a depleted, gutsy Wales side, scrambling to regain that belief before taking on the Wallabies.

The Pool A favourites and the second-favourite to win the World Cup before the tournament, find themselves in a must-win game against the Wallabies.

On Thursday morning, the word belief came up almost once every minute in the Wallabies’ press conference, in relation to relationship within the team, between the players and coaches and between the team and the rest of Australia.

“We’re coming from a different direction than they (England) have been,” Cheika said.

“We’ve been rebuilding the belief within our team.

“For many years we struggled a little bit maybe from external pressures for whatever reason that really strong belief in the team as a whole in ourselves mate was a little bit absent.

“I feel like we’ve worked really hard on that over 12 months since we got together in the last spring tour.”

Cheika said that trust in each other wasn’t necessarily about wins, though those have come in 2015, and it wasn’t just about the 15, 23, 31 or 41 players in a Wallabies squad.

“We know how important that will be for the team in general and rugby in Australia - that the team that represents the country believes in itself because people see that," he said.

“The kids that are getting up at five in the morning to watch this game, my own kids included, they’ll be looking for that because they can see it in the players, in the way we carry ourselves and the fight we put in the field.

“It’s not something that comes and goes, you’ve got to build it .

"I don’t think you can have it one week and lose it the next because it makes you resilient for the losses.”

That knowledge means Cheika knows England won’t still be lingering on that loss to Wales last week and will go into Saturday as the hometown favourites.

“When we got beaten by New Zealand in the second game, we didn’t all of a sudden lose our belief," he said.

“You’ve got to take those failures and then move on and build on from those and be successful after that.

“ I don’t know (about England) but for me it’s something that’s built over time and if you believe in it properly and you really worked on it over a period of time and with good substance then it won’t go away if you have a loss.”

Wallabies vice-captain Michael Hooper led the Wallabies in their 26-17 loss to England at Twickenham last November and said it was bizarre to think a year had almost passed since then.

Seven of the side that started that night will start on Saturday night, with the power to possibly end England’s World Cup and Hooper said their faith had simply grown since then.

“We had a really good spring tour development wise,” he said.

“It’s just another year down the track and a year more believing in what we can do.

“We’ve had some good wins up to this point that have been really good for team morale.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year since then but I can’t wait to play at Twickenham.”

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