Cheika won't lose faith after Wallabies' Eden Park drubbing

by Emma Greenwood

UPDATE: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says his team's 36-0 drubbing at the hand of the All Blacks won't convince him to throw away Australia's gains over the last year.

Cheika and captain Michael Hooper were bitterly disappointed with the loss, which continued the Wallabies' 33-year drought at Eden Park.

But the coach was unwilling to allow it to ruin the momentum the team has built this season.

"Confidence won't be dented but disappointment is there," he said.

All Blacks winger Sevu Reece scores a try in the Kiwis' 36-0 win. Photo: Getty Images

"But regardless, we've improved a lot since '18 - on the field and off the field - and we have to take it on the chin.

"If you'd asked me how I was feeling yesterday or before the game, I was feeling really good about the improvements we'd made.

"And as terribly disappointed as I am about the game, I'm not going to throw them away, I'm going to put them into context."

Instead Cheika said the Wallabies had to continue to build on the performances that led to the Perth win.

"And be resilient, don't let this get you down," he said.

A disappointed Adam Ashley-Cooper looks on after the loss to the All Blacks. Photo: Walmsley

"You're going to be sad and disappointed but suck it up and get ready for the next one.

"And build into the World Cup just how we've always planned to."

Cheika said the loss would not affect his selections for the World Cup ahead of the announcement of his 31-man squad on Friday.

"We wouldn't have pre-empted anything," he said.

"We just wanted all the games to play out and then we'll sit down early in the week and get it done."

The All Blacks' response was to be expected, particularly at the Eden Park fortress, where they have not lost to the Wallabies since 1986.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen called last week's result a "punch in the face" for his team and expected the team to respond as they did.

"If you get comfortable, you're going to get a punch in the nose," he said.

"You’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable and sometimes in life when you're successful that catches up with you.

"You can feel the difference. We got toweled up last weekend I'm not sure that any All Blacks team has enjoyed that experience - and this one didn't.

"What we couldn't see was where Australia were. It only takes a small degree of change and maybe you don't see the result you saw last week."


EARLIER: The Eden Park curse continues for the Wallabies who were held scoreless in a horror 36-0 loss to a rampant All Blacks outfit.

Australia headed to Auckland with their confidence high after inflicting the All Blacks' worst loss in history but it proved to be a false dawn.

It only served to wake the sleeping giants of world rugby, who turned in their best performance of the year just a month out from the start of the World Cup.

In contrast, the Wallabies went missing, especially in the forwards, and again look vulnerable heading to Japan.

The Wallabies react to their loss after the final siren. Photo: Getty Images

After dominating most facets of the game in Perth, the Wallabies were woeful around the ground,

There were ominous signs from the kick-off after Christian Lealiifano's kick barely went the 10m and was immediately pushed into touch before the All Blacks won a penalty and then another which Richie Mo'unga converted into a three-point lead.

But few would have expected the Wallabies to be held scoreless - for the ninth time at their hoodoo ground - or to suffer their fourth-worst loss against the All Blacks.

Lealiifano was having a horror night with the boot, missing two penalty attempt in the first 20 minutes as the Wallabies scrambled to stay in the match.

But he was hardly alone.

The Wallabies huddle on the ground after the final siren. Photo: Walmsley

The Wallabies forwards, so dominant in Perth - quick to the breakdown and near flawless in their set-piece work - went missing and times and suffered the ignominy of being pushed back, twice, by a seven-man All Black scrum.

The All Blacks only got better as the game went on, fuelled by the crowd of 48,339 and putting in a performance that one radio commentator called "80 minutes of rugby that looked, felt and smelt All Blacks".

After suffering what coach Steven Hansen called a "punch in the face" last week, they responded with a withering combination that has left the Wallabies on the canvas.

The All Blacks' 17-0 halftime lead, built after a pair of tries within three minutes from Mo'unga and Aaron Smith, was an ominous sign, but with the All Blacks sporting just 14 men after hooker Dane Coles' yellow card, the Wallabies had their chances.

But they were unable to compete, conceding another three tries as the all Blacks ran rampant.

There were concerns for the Wallabies too, with Allan Alaalatoa forced from the field early in the second half after getting his head in an awkward position attempting to make a tackle on Sonny Bill Williams.



Tries: Mo'unga, Smith, Williams, Reece,  Bridge

Cons: Mo'unga 3, Barrett

Pens: Mo'unga