Cheika's public fire just a spark

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Think Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been fired up this week? Lock Rob Simmons says that’s nothing compared to what he’s like behind closed doors.

Cheika let loose on Eddie Jones and England’s scrum on his first day in London but when asked if the Australia mentor was extra angry this week, Simmons didn’t have to think very hard.

Rob Simmons says Michael Cheika is always intense at training. Photo: Getty Images“I just think, you haven’t seen anything if you think he’s fired up in a media conference,” he said. 

“I haven’t noticed too much [change]. Not much difference for us forwards, he gets stuck into us every day anyway.”

While much of his anger is directed towards the forwards, with whom he does most of his hands-on coaching, Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley said Cheika's emotions weren’t about his England counterpart.

“I think Cheik’s pretty fired up in every meeting we have with him,” he said.

“Probably he’s more disappointed in the loss on the weekend.

"It’s such a big occasion getting to play England at home in Twickenham and they’re going really well, they’re a side who hasn’t lost this year and it’s a great challenge for us.

The Wallabies trained in London on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images“That’s probably where his excitement comes from.”

England’s series win came as part of a 13-Test winning streak and a victory over Australia would equal their longest-winning streak ever, but Simmons said they weren’t out just to end their opponent’s chances at history.

“I don’t think this group needs extra motivation with things like that at the moment,” he said.

“We’re all pretty well-driven and we’re excited about this game on the weekend but we probably don’t use the history and things like that to get us up.”

Michael Cheika has been vocal this week. Photo: Getty ImagesFoley said a forthright examination of their loss to Ireland would be motivation enough for the Wallabies, whose Grand Slam bid ended in Dublin.

“We watched the review yesterday and it wasn’t that pretty, we left a lot of opportunities and created a lot of chances that we just didn’t take and that was the disappointing thing and also that we probably took us the first 35 minutes to get into the game,” he said. 

“Against a quality side like Ireland you can’t allow that to happen. For us, we had an honest review yesterday and I think we were very excited about the weekend ahead.

“It’s something that you can put behind you, the thought of the Grand Slam and now focus on this game and playing England."

Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Saturday, kicking off at 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIn Sport (Foxtel Channel 515).