Pulver confident in Cheika

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he expected everyone to “put the boot in” after his side’s series loss to England but he’s got the backing of the national organisation to turn things around.

Cheika has started the year with three straight losses but ARU CEO Bill Pulver won’t be putting any extra pressure on the coach, who recently signed an extension to see him through to the 2019 World Cup.

Speaking at the Women’s National Championships on Sunday, Pulver said he was confident the Wallabies could rebound in time for the Rugby Championship.

“Cheika is a world class coach,” he said.

“I suspect this morning he's hurting a bit but things ebb and flow.

“He will regroup, he is a quality act and we've got some things we have to work on.

“They're things to work on, not only at a national level but also state level.

“Hopefully from a high performance sense we've got more collaboration around the states, which will ultimately result in the Wallaby team being better prepared.”

Pulver said the England series had delivered for the rugby public, aside from the obviously disappointing result for Australia, with record crowds at matches in Melbourne and Sydney.

“That series ticked an awful lot of boxes,” he said.

“I think from an entertainment perspective three outstanding test matches, supported by really outstanding crowds.

“At the end of the day, I've got to say I think we got beaten by a better team, I think they were probably really well prepared.

“If I ever see Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola again that'll be too soon. They were very special players in the England squad.

“Our boys gave plenty of effort. In certain parts of the game, the execution lacked a little and that was the point of difference.”

The Wallabies return to Super Rugby this week, with the Waratahs and Brumbies still in finals contention, before the first Bledisloe Cup match on August 20 in Sydney.