Wallabies need to own the good and the bad

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Wallabies won’t be shying away from their need to improve after a last-gasp win over Scotland, says head coach Michael Cheika.

Cheika said his side needed to be better in their final four clash against Argentina, and wouldn’t be in denial about that.

“In our team we want to own everything, even the bad stuff. We don’t want to throw the bad stuff away,” he said.

“When we do bad things or when we’re not at the level we need to be, we need to own that, take responsibility."

While it was being labelled a late escape, Cheika said his side’s five tries meant they were always likely to be on the positive side of the ledger.

“Usually if you kick a goal with a minute to go to win, it’s usually a pretty good escape,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, (with the) five tries we scored in a quarter-final of a world cup, you expect to be somewhere near the winning end of the game.

“Although we’ve got massive improvements in certain areas, our try scoring ability was there. We went after it, we continued to go after it.

“We didn’t go to a kicking game and maybe that’s a bit naive from me, maybe we shouldn’t have opened it up for them."

He praised the Wallabies for sticking to their guns and continuing to play wide, running rugby when the momentum was with Scotland.

“We want to play the way our identity tells us and what we represent," he said.

“And that’s to play running footy.

“I think for where we are right now , if that’s an escape, I’m happy to escape. With the five tries, we deserve to be up there.”

The Wallabies showed some mental fortitude after Scotland’s 74th minute converted try put them two points up and Cheika said that effort from his side was a pleasing element.

“I think when the goal went over for Scotland, the conversion, many teams would have thought, 'okay we’ve had a good run let’s go home’,” he said.

“I just like the way we tried everything we could to get back in the game and see what happened with two minutes to go.”

Cheika showed faith in first-choice goal kicker Bernard Foley, who struggled in front of the posts early in the match before kicking the match-winner.

He said there was no question that Foley would regroup through the game, with other possible kickers Matt Toomua and Quade Cooper remaining on the bench for the 80 minutes.

“These things happen in a game and you’ve got to hold your nerve. You can’t panic every time something doesn’t go right,” he said.

“ I spoke with the kicking coach, Chris Malone, and he had a very clear methodology around the decision making going forward and that criteria was met and Bernard stayed on as the kicker.”

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore said he was thrilled to get the win, no matter how it came.

“I’m just proud of the way the boys knuckled in there at the end,” he said.

“Like Cheik said it’s a quarter-final, you take the win any way you can.

“Whether it’s earlier or in the last minute with a penalty kick, it’s important that you take the opportunity when it comes and Bernard (Foley) did that.”

Loosehead prop Scott Sio will have scans on Monday on an elbow he twisted in a scrum that put him in a sling and ended his night early.