Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he’s far from desperate ahead of a must-win Test against England on Saturday, rather wanting to build a ‘bulletproof’ team out of the position they find themselves in.
England coach Eddie Jones has said the Wallabies would be desperate to win the second Test but Cheika refuted that suggestion on Wednesday night, saying he preferred to play the long game.
“No, mate. Desperate? Why? Because we lost the first game? Losing’s part of life sometimes, that’s the way it is,” he said.
“You can’t have a gold pathway all the way through and everything’s happy and rosy and everyone’s singing a song together.
“Sometimes it’s tough, you’ve got to be in a scrap and that’s when you get the most character built. That’s what we need.”
Cheika said he hoped his players followed suit, embracing the chance to get their backs off the wall and even up the series.
“Me personally, I love being in this situation, I know that sounds a bit crazy but you’re one down you’re in a scrap and I want my players to enjoy that too,” he said.
“That’s what Aussies are like, we’re in a battle, let’s go. We’re in the scrap, let’s get into it. We never want to take a backwards step."
"I didn’t have this head on after the game, I can tell you. I was miserable, hurting, I wanted to cry, hurting.
“But now, next day, work it out, we talk to the team, we’re honest with each other and now I say, 'We’re in a good shindig here, let’s go, enjoy it, get into it and enjoy that part of the game'.”
Cheika admitted his side needed to improve its physicality in the second match up but wouldn’t be getting caught in the ‘niggly’ tactics England used to cut the Wallabies off in Brisbane.
“We’ve got to play more physically, yes,” he said.
“I’m not concerned about it, we’ve just got to improve the level we showed last week because obviously last week’s level was not enough.
“That’s pretty clear by the scoreline.
“So this week’s level is going to be higher, I’m not getting into the niggle thing because that’s not our go, that’s not how Aussies do things.”
It’s a similar stance off the field, with Cheika saying he was picking a team that had mettle for more than just one Test or one series.
“I know a lot of people have said we’ve been quiet and all that stuff but for me, talk about sledging for example,” he said.
“I’ll sledge if I’m going to go on the field and be able to back it up. Not then go sledging and stay off the field and say, ‘Oh sweet boys go to it.
“That’s why I don’t want to do that because you’ve got to go back it up. It’s easy when you’re in that environment.
Cheika said any mudslinging was only a bandaid solution to get a team in a winning position.
“Obviously there’d be things said about us from the sidelines or whatever but we want to build some some substance to be a consistent team for the long haul, it’s not just get by this week and hope for the next thing.
“I want to be bulletproof to all that stuff and build from within and not have to use that thing to stick on the wall or that thing to stick on the wall to help us.”