Spring Tour far from a waste of time: Cheika

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies’ chances of a first Grand Slam in 32 years are over but coach Michael Cheika says there is still much to gain from the Spring Tour.

The loss to Ireland ends their prospects of a Grand Slam, with one match to go, and Cheika said that compounded the pain of the nail-biting defeat, that left the Wallabies frustrated with a lopsided penalty count.

Despite the finish in Dublin, Cheika maintained there was still an up side, with the side’s newest faces showing some promise.

“Very disappointing, the manner of it too, the controversy around a lot of those things,” Cheika said.

“It’s not dented my enthusiasm for the tour at all, we’ve had a great tour so far, we’ve improved a lot.

“There’s a lot of new players in our squad and this is what we came here to do; we brought these guys over to get into the heat of these cauldrons and make better decisions and learn how to play." - Michael Cheika

“And we’ll keep doing that over this year and next year and get our mix right.

“We’ll be hurting obviously tonight, and then tomorrow we’ll dust ourselves off and get ready for next week.”

Cheika said it would be easy for his team to move on after the loss, on a tour where he has demanded his team resets itself each week.

“Not hard at all, in this sport you take your disappointments forward with you and you say ‘Ok, that hurt, I don’t want to hurt again’, and go out there and try to make a difference, make a better impact and contribution in the next game,” he said.

“You can’t cry about it once it’s over, it’s gone now, (and we're) just getting on to the next thing.”

Eddie Jones wasted little time in throwing shade Australia’s way, asking for a meeting with referee Jaco Peyper and calling for more scrutiny of Australia’s scrummaging ahead of their clash.

“I am very keen to have a chat to the referee about the Australian scrummaging,” Jones told reporters

“They have got some issues with the way that they scrum so we need to have a meeting with the referee and we will invite the Australian coaching staff to come along.

“We will submit an agenda and make sure that everything is above board. They were penalised four times in a row against France so they have got some technical issues.”

Cheika was bemused when told of Jones’s comments after the Ireland Test.

“About our scrum? Our scrum got penalised everywhere tonight so they should be pushing us around no drama I’d say,” he said.

“I don’t know why he’d be worried about our scrum.

“I’m not sure what we’re doing wrong, but maybe that’ll be a conversation for next week perhaps when we get to England.” - Michael Cheika

The Wallabies will have the chance to show their improvement against England, a side they lost their June Test Series to 3-0, but captain Stephen Moore said any progress would wait until next week to be seen.

“We’ll see next Saturday, there’s no point talking about it now,” he said.