I've got to really own that: Cheika

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wasn’t searching for excuses after his side’s Cook Cup series loss to England, rather putting his own hand up to take responsibility for a 2-0 deficit.

Cheika and his captain Stephen Moore struck disappointed figures post-match but were both adamant that this loss was not the fault of any other factors.

In a match where opportunities went begging, Cheika said he took responsibility for many of those lost chances.

“I’ve got to really own that,” he said.

“We prepare that in the prep of the week. I’ve got to explain it to the lads more forcefully, I’ve got to own that as the coach, those things.

“That’s the stuff we set out. We did set that out but I’ve got to make sure that message is clear.

“I know we want to play footy, we want to play rugby, that’s how we want to play the game.

“Stack more passes, stack more rucks but like I said it doesn’t always convert into the scoreboard.

“Sometimes that will happen sometimes playing that way but it shouldn’t happen regularly.”

Australia dominated possession in the match but couldn’t penetrate the English defence and Cheika said they had to find a happy medium in running the ball and scoring points.

“We’ve got to learn to play a lot of footy and win the game too in the way we play that, some of the skills inside of that.”

Moore and Cheika dismissed concerns about the surface, which was left covered in divots after multiple scrums, forcing referee Craig Joubert to move the scrums at nearly every reset.

Wallabies vice-captain Michael Hooper was the centre of social media speculation when a bird’s eye view video circulated that appeared to show him throwing sand in the face of opposite number James Haskell.

However, that was dispelled by a ground level angle that showed the sand went well below any of his opponents.

While the third Test in Sydney will be a dead rubber, with the series done and dusted on Saturday night, Moore said there was no lack of motivation.

“We play for our people and our jersey, it’s another opportunity to put the jersey on and show what it means to us,” he said.

“Never a lack of motivation, every time it’s special.

“Gutted about the series but it’s another opportunity to improve during the week and put that jersey on.”