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Michael Cheika: Australia need special performance to beat New Zealand in final

Published 25/10/2015

Michael Cheika believes Australia need 'something special' to beat the All Blacks in the World Cup final
Michael Cheika believes Australia need 'something special' to beat the All Blacks in the World Cup final

Michael Cheika has challenged Australia to produce "something extra just to be competitive" in the World Cup final against defending champions New Zealand.

Head coach Cheika insists silverware rivals the All Blacks think they have the Wallabies' number, ahead of Saturday's showpiece clash at Twickenham.

Adam Ashley-Cooper's hat-trick and an intercept score from Rob Simmons crushed ever-ambitious Argentina in Sunday's semi-final, the Wallabies triumphant 29-15 in London.

Cheika refused to discuss the merits of South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer branding the current All Blacks the best team in rugby's history, but still labelled Steve Hansen's men favourites.

"Well you've got to go back into the history annals to talk on that," said Cheika, when asked if the All Blacks are the best of all time.

"They are obviously the world's number one aren't they.

"We've only beaten them once in the last 10 matches.

"So they'll be feeling they've got our measure and it's going to be up to us to do something special, something extra just to be competitive.

"So we'll see how we go.

"We've got to improve massively from what we did today, to even be in the hunt next week.

"We'll pick two or three things and try to make those things better.

"When you've got a team like New Zealand with so many threats, who are so well-drilled and have such a great coach you have to be working hard all the time.

"You have to believe in your own way of playing.

"We know we're going to have to improve again.

"New Zealand have had a very different path from us to here.

"They will be feeling a little bit differently in their preparation.

"But it's a World Cup final and the adrenaline's going to be pumping and anyone who's a little bit sore will forget all about soreness next week."

Former Leinster, Stade Francais and Waratahs boss Cheika only assumed the Wallabies job in October 2014, after the shock resignation of Ewen McKenzie.

The taskmaster coach has transformed a talented but disparate group besieged by infighting and recrimination into potential world champions in 12 months.

The no-nonsense 48-year-old still batted away any praise when quizzed on how he has reversed Australia's fortunes however.

"I'm not taking credit for any type of that stuff," said Cheika.

"I don't know if we're turned around or anything, I just know guys are playing for each other, want to play for Australia and are committed when they take the field.

"That's the basis for a contact sport, and that's about it really.

"I haven't thought about any of that stuff really.

"We're just going day by day, genuinely.

"I know it sounds boring but now I have to work on what we'll do next week, what days we train and that type of stuff."

Cheika pledged to keep pushing Australia's attacking remit despite facing the miserly All Blacks in the final.

The Australia boss also tipped Matt Giteau to shake off a groin niggle and Israel Folau to be ready to start the final.

"I've been brought up I suppose with attacking footie, but you've still got to have the rest of it as well," said Cheika.

"But if you don't try to score then you're not going to.

"It does leave you open, on the counter punch sometimes.

"And I'm sure teams look at us in that way.

"But I think that's how Australians want us to play.

"They want us to do it well, but they want us to be good and play that style.

"You've got to have contact and go-forward, you can't play off the back-foot, but it's all part of how we want to play the game.

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't: we didn't score against Wales, but like you've seen it's not always the magic formula either.

"So you've just got to get the right balance."

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