Cheika: I won't be distracted by the craic

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A week in Ireland has been familiar territory for Michael Cheika but he’s not being distracted by personal sentiments in Dublin

Cheika admitted a victory would be extra sweet, after losing his only other Test against Ireland in 2014, but he said that wouldn’t be pulling his focus away from the narrow view he has taken on the Spring Tour.

“Obviously it would be very enjoyable for me,” he said.

“I've spent so many good years here. I was very disappointed to lose here in 2014.

“But that's not what it's really about, at the end of the day. There's a lot of things that I suppose are on the line, but we're not going to start changing our tune.

“Our thing is we've come here with a third of a new squad from when we came to Europe last year for the World Cup.

“A lot of those guys are going to get experience tonight playing down in the south of France and they'll head back up here (Dublin).

“There's a lot of things that I suppose are on the line, but we're not going to start changing our tune." - Michael Cheika

“A lot of those guys haven't played in Europe before so the atmosphere of playing at Lansdowne Road and that challenge, it's really difficult to win in Europe. For a lot of our guys who haven't had those experiences this will be a big game."

Saturday’s match will also be a significant one for skipper Stephen Moore, who will become the equal-second highest capped Wallaby, bringing up his 116th Test to draw level with Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nathan Sharpe, in the country where his parents are from.

Moore is not one to savour individual milestones publicly and Cheika said his captain would not be changing that this week.

“For him, and from our point of view, it's irrelevant the number of games (he's played). What he brings in leadership and experience and energy, for a guy who has got that much experience, is quite inspiring for the younger guys,” Cheika said.

“That's what we're trying to do on this tour - mix younger guys and older guys, (older guys) taking a lot of responsibility over the development players who have come into the squad on this trip. And he's a good lad.

“Players when they get to a certain part of their career, they've got to embrace that and understand they probably can't do all the things they did once upon a time." - Michael Cheika 

“He's planning on playing on for a while. So let's not write any epitaphs or scripts about how many games he's played. Because I'd say he's looking much more to the future than he is to the past.”

Moore has signed on to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and with a move to the Queensland Reds beckoning Cheika said the 33-year-old still had a youthful desperation to learn.

“He wants to keep learning. That's a good quality. Players when they get to a certain part of their career, they've got to embrace that and understand they probably can't do all the things they did once upon a time,” he said.

"You learn new ways and techniques on different things. And he's certainly that type of guy. He works hard, definitely.”

Australia takes on Ireland at 4:30am Sunday AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIN Sport (Foxtel Channel 515).

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