Win a weight off Wallabies shoulders

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The weight of a six-Test losing streak has finally been lifted off the Wallabies’ shoulders and coach Michael Cheika expects Saturday’s Springboks result to start a rippling change in his team.

Hanging on to a six-point lead in the dying stages, the Wallabies opted to take conservative options that Cheika said showed their desire to finally notch that victory.

“I think you even saw that towards the end of the game, we had other opportunities to hit them on the counter, we kicked the ball away - little things like that, just that anxiety of being in front and wanting to stay in front at all costs,” he said post-match.

“We need to liberate that a little bit more going into next week, but we're very pleased, in particular for our supporters and our debutants.”

The learning curve this season has been steep for Cheika and he said it had illuminated the character of his side.

“We've been getting a fair bit of heat and everyone stayed really solid. No one's looked sideways,” he said.

“Everyone's got to the task and got going and sometimes you can get in a bind around all those peripheral things but we've started really solid, we've enjoyed our training still, because sometimes you think I shouldn't be enjoying it because we're not winning.

The Wallabies with the Nelson Mandela plate. Photo: Getty Images“We've got stuck in, enjoyed our training, trained hard and we'll continue to do that no matter what.”

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore said the feeling after the match was one of pride rather than relief, in their first home win of the season.

“I suppose a bit of relief but I think just proud of the team and everyone involved with the team because it's been tough,” he said.

“There's been plenty of people outside the group giving their two bob on everything and I think I'm just really proud the way that everyone's hung tight and worked hard and kept preparing as best they possibly can.

“Of course it's nice at the end of the week to get a result like that.

“The way we've stuck at it throughout the campaign is probably the most pleasing thing, when it's been tough.”

In the lead-up to the game, Moore said he wasn’t paying attention to external critics and post-match he reiterated that

“It's part and parcel, it comes with the game, it's very results driven.

“A lot of people don't know what we do during the week, they just see the game on the weekend, so that's why tonight was good for our fans that watch the game that they can feel proud about the win.

“When you go round the ground there at the end of the game, you see the kids and the people pleased about the result so that's what you play for, that type of thing.”

The Wallabies will be closely monitoring a knee injury to Allan Alaalatoa, who left the ground in a knee brace.