Bledisloe lesson still fresh for Wallabies

by staff

People have been patting them on the back all week but the Wallabies need only look back two months in time for a reminder that there is no security in international rugby.

The sensation that has followed them after knocking England out of their own World Cup could arguably have exceed the euphoria of their Sydney Bledisloe Cup win in August.

A 41-13 loss at Eden Park a week later told Michael Cheika all he needed to know about the illusion of momentum in a tournament situation.

When asked how much momentum the side had gained from their England win, he was blunt.

“None,” he said.

“Because we supposedly had momentum after we beat New Zealand in Sydney as well.

“And then they put their boot to our backside."

While many mentors roll out the line that lessons come as positives from demoralising losses, Cheika said they simply couldn’t just satisfy themselves with the weeks when back slappers seep out of the woodwork.

“Coaches like to trot out that one after you get beaten, ‘We’ll learn or the positives or blah,blah,blah,blah’ but it’s something we need to learn from,” he said.

“The fact that when people are happy with the way you play and all around you the world is all good, you can’t settle for that good part, just alone.

“You’ve got to go try to be great and to do that you’ve got to keep backing up the good bits every day.

“We weren’t on that occasion and the one thing you’ve got to take from it is to learn the lesson about improving all the time, even if things go your way.

“That’s why we’re harping on about it so much because we really believe it.”

Cheika said that Bledisloe Cup match reinforced his viewpoint, one that he has emphasised throughout his dealings with the media, that he is focused on improvement every day.

“That’s what can happen if you’re not on every single day,” he said.

“Today’s just a day we’ve got to be better and enjoy it.

“It’s a game we’re really looking forward to because it’s another step along the way.

Cheika laid down the gauntlet to his side this week, challenging them to step up once again after a another seven days in the spotlight, both directly and indirectly through England’s fall out.

“A team wanting to move forward and grow as a team needs to be able to take these challenges on and step up and improve,” he said.

“That’s a work on for us because we haven’t been in that space before.”

Captain Stephen Moore echoed Cheika’s comments, saying the Wallabies needed to ensure they didn’t let plaudits go to their heads.

“We spoke a lot of about the consistency that week (leading up to the second Bledisloe) as well and we just came up short there in Auckland,” he said.

“This week we’ve tried to... keep our feet on the ground.

“A lot of people were happy about that outcome and there’s a lot of people patting you on the back on the street and things like that and you’ve just got to stay focused on the job at hand.

“We know this week’s going to be a step up for us and we need to put a performance out there that’s better than last week.”