Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has described criticism from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on the way he has handled media this Test series as “shallow” and a “pot shot”.
Hansen said, speaking after his side’s win over Wales, that Cheika had allowed England coach Eddie Jones to bully him in the media, with little response.
Jones suggested on Monday night Hansen’s comments were a thinly-veiled attempt to rattle the Wallabies ahead of August’s Bledisloe series.
Cheika said Hansen’s comments were relatively “shallow” for any rugby coach to make, with the Wallabies a pretty easy target.
“I think that's really shallow view I suppose on what's really involved in coaching,” he said.
“He knows better than that.
“It's easy to kick blokes when they're down so we are down but we'll be getting back up, don’t' worry about that.”
The tete-a-tete between Jones and Cheika was hugely anticipated coming into the series but Cheika has held his tongue more than his counterpart, though he said it wasn't a deliberate move.
“If I thought it would've made us play better, I would've got into it but I don't think it would,” he said.
“I think it's nice to circle around that idea and go oh yeah that makes a difference but anyone who knows the game will understand that has no bearing whatsoever on the end result.
“I probably haven't been the most popular character in my life so I wasn't used to people liking me anyway so if they're not big on the way I've taken on the media campaign then that's their problem.
“I've done my things best for the team and I still believe it's the best for the team.”
There won’t be any residual grudge on Cheika’s part when the trans-Tasman series rolls around, he said.
“[That’s] not what motivates me - what someone says in a newspaper,” he said.
“It's just an opportunity to take a pot shot.”
Cheika said he felt plenty of people would be happy to see an Australian rugby side in the position it’s in now but it wouldn’t change his team’s steadfast belief.
“In the past, Australia's been guilty of maybe talking itself up a bit too much when it hasn't deserved it and one thing this team has is a lot of humility, even when we win and when we lose,” he said.
“I think we showed that in the games we've won and we'll show it again in the games that we've lost also around our belief as well.
“We're not going to lose our belief because we've lost a game, we're going to back our guys as we always do and prepare to be the best we can this weekend and when we get to the next Test after that, we'll try and do the same.”