No pressure, but Moore knows need for improvement

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says captain Stephen Moore isn’t under pressure, but the competition is closing in amid a winless Test season.

Moore has the lowest throwing percentage of any of the starting hookers in the Rugby Championship in a struggling Wallabies lineout but Cheika said his situation was far from dire.

“[He’s] not under pressure. I don't like to think it's pressure, I like to think it's competition,” he said.

“We shouldn't see competition as pressure because that's the game.

Stephen Moore has been under fire after a six-Test losing streak. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley“Everything's competitive. If you start worrying about competition, then you've got a problem in this game. “

Cheika said Moore knew he had to improve, but he still had faith in the 33-year-old.

“Yes, I'd say Moore's in a competitive battle with Polota-Nau. And he knows it too. I think that's a good thing, because he's feeling it and he says 'I want to play better' and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

“It doesn't mean I back Moorey in less, that's absolutely a normal situation for us to be in.”

Newly elevated Dean Mumm, starting at blindside flanker on Saturday, refused to point the finger at Moore, saying the entire lineout group had to take responsibility.

“I think it's really hard to judge a throw,” he said.

“It's a collective, if there's a lineout and we're not in the right place or the jump's short, then the throw gets judgement on it based on that.

'it's a collective': Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley“I think anything that's offered towards him is a judgement on us as a lineout as a whole.

“Steve's been throwing, in my opinion, he's been throwing very well during the week so we'll see how we go on the weekend.”

Wallabies back Bernard Foley said they weren't paying much heed to the criticisms of their skipper, a week after Israel Folau voiced his support for Moore.

“It’s really hard but people are entitled to their opinions and unfortunately those people get stronger voices when the side’s not doing well,” he said.Bernard Foley says there's still belief in the Wallabies camp. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

“For us it hasn’t deterred us or changed the way we see him or the rest of the team.

“We’ve got a really strong belief and an identity of this team, we’re trying really hard to go out there and replicate it every time we get to wear that jersey.

“Its another opportunity for us Saturday night and the belief amongst the squad has been exceptional.

“We’ve had some really honest and open chats and that’s put us in a really good position now going forward."