Cheika pours cold water on Hansen fire

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika isn’t sure what all the fuss is about, after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's fiery words of warning to the Australians on Sunday.

Hansen said the Wallabies should take a look closer to home before commenting on their opponents, after the Australian coach praised the recent performances of Ardie Savea and Beauden Barrett, who are locked in tight selection battles with incumbents Sam Cane and Aaron Cruden.

“It's good of the Australian coach to start picking our team,” he said on Sunday.

“I'd say he's got enough problems of his own but we'll pick ours and he can pick his and he'll have a lot to say, no doubt.”

It’s not the first time Hansen has thrown some criticism at the Wallabies, weighing in during the June series to say that Cheika had been “bullied” by England coach Eddie Jones.

The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe since 2003. Photo: Getty ImagesAsked on Monday whether he expected Hansen to come out so strongly, Cheika was a bit bemused

“I don't know what he's upset about,” he said.

“It's up to him. For us, I think we know how we're thought of..

‘We know they think we're no chance to do anything and they're validated, I suppose, we haven't beaten them for ages in the series so it's understandable that they would think that.

“We'll just get our stuff together and do our absolute best when we get out there on Saturday night.”

Cheika played down the to-and-fro, saying there wasn’t any malice from the Wallabies camp, just the intense build up to a Bledisloe

“I've only had one, only been involved in one, last year, which we lost, and I know when you say spice, I'm not sure if there's anything from our end in regards to that,” he said.

“I suppose that they're thinking we're the ones that have got something to prove so I just let let it run with what he said.

“I'm not really sure what else to say to be honest.”

It's been a painful decade for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty ImagesAs for Hansen’s comments about  the Wallabies’ problems, Cheika said they probably weren’t too far off the mark, quick to label his own team the rank outsiders.

“I think anytime you're playing in a Bledisloe ,you want to (prove something) - especially when you haven't won it for so long.

“I think when they say we've got our own problems, that's what they're referring to, the fact that we can't beat them.

“We'll just have to work on how we're going to do that and  know that not many people over there or over here give us much of a chance, especially based on our form this year against them around our teams.

“We've been working hard for a few weeks to get ourselves together and we'll be doing our absolute best, like we always say, play our best and also do our country proud on the day.