AUCKLAND: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insisted Saturday’s thrashing at the hands of the All Blacks had not derailed Australia’s World Cup preparations as he drew up a list of errors to be addressed.
“As terribly disappointed as I am, you have to suck it up and get ready for the next one,” he said after a sharp form reversal saw them beaten 36-0 in Auckland just a week after the Wallabies were crowing about their 47-26 victory over the All Blacks in Perth.
“I’m not worried. You get punched in the face sometimes, you get hit hard and it’s about how you get back up.
“We have to take it, take it on the chin.”
Apart from the injury enforced change of Adam Coleman for Rory Arnold at lock, Cheika kept the same line up for the return Bledisloe Cup match while the All Blacks made five changes including the axing of the vastly experienced Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane and Owen Franks.
The result was the All Blacks pack out-muscled the Wallabies and with relative newcomer Richie Mo’unga pulling the strings at fly-half they kept the Wallaby backs scrambling in a five-tries-to-nil masterpiece.
For a period in the middle of the first half the Wallabies looked threatening, but two penalties went astray, they could not break the All Blacks defence and when New Zealand broke the shackles with two quick tries the result was never in doubt.
“They got a try-try after we had a good run and we struggled to get back from that,” said captain Michael Hooper.
But Cheika saw problems arising before then, blaming his side for wasting scoring opportunities.
“We had a lot of momentum in the first half and didn’t take any points,” he said.
“We weren’t as efficient as we needed to be at the scrum or the ruck. That inconsistency didn’t allow us to get any dominance.”
Cheika was adamant their confidence would not be dented and rather than compare the performances of the past two weeks he said the comparison had to be over two seasons.
“We’ve improved lots since 2018 on the field and off the field.”