Cheika's half-time silence a Wallabies positive

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Michael Cheika didn’t have to give his team a spray after a lacklustre first half in Canberra, but the Wallabies coach said that might have been the greatest positive from Saturday's win.

After a sloppy first 40 minutes, Cheika might have wanted to deliver some home truths, but it was the team's leaders that took the load in the sheds.

It was that, though that Cheika said showed a sign of the side's growth. 

“There's no point me going down there and giving them a rev-up, even though I really wanted to,” he said.

“I didn't need to because they said it themselves and that's a step forward for our leadership team because they told it as it was at half-time, didn't try and hide from the lack of intensity and urgency that was there, and that they needed to pick it up and own it and they did that in the second half.”

The Wallabies have been on top late in games in their previous two outings, coming away with only a draw and a loss for their efforts.

Cheika said, though, the result was simply a byproduct of that half-time turnaround.

“A win is good but I think more about the change of intensity in the way we played,” he said.

“We were on the front foot all the time, we were looking a bit more aggressive, looking to hurt guys in tackles.

“Just that's what footy is and a win always comes as a consequence of that.

“I think between Michael (Hooper) and a few of the other guys who spoke at half-time, they gave a clear message to their teammates as to where they needed to go in the second half.”

Skipper Michael Hooper said the taste of victory was a satisfying one.

“Not a sense of relief, sense of finally getting a reward for some of the hard work,” he said.

“It's a good feeling for everyone and we've been putting in a lot of things in place to get a result that builds as the game goes on.

“Yes, we would've liked a better start but to be able to be playing our shape in the 60th and 70th minute and putting points on a  team, it's really rewarding.”

The Wallabies’ next challenge is facing a Springboks side that fell to its worst loss in history across the ditch, that will be keen to seek redemption.

“It was pretty interesting for me to see that scoreline because I thought South Africa would go there and perform but no one knows better than us how sometimes the game can get away from you against New Zealand,” Cheika said.

“I haven't seen the game so I don't know but what I do know is when we get to the High veld, it's going to be on.

“They're going to be looking for some retribution on someone and it's most likely going to be us and we've got to be ready for that.”

Rob Simmons (cork) and Adam Coleman (shoulder/ribs) were the only potential injury concerns to come out of Saturday’s clash.