Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Michael Cheika hoping England change their style for the third and final Test

Published 23/06/2016

Michael Cheika wants England to change their approach
Michael Cheika wants England to change their approach

Australia head coach Michael Cheika believes "dull" England may begin to play with more ambition now the series has been decided.

The Wallabies have attacked with greater intent in the first two Tests but lost both, the second on account of an heroic defensive display by the Grand Slam champions, who made three times as many tackles at AAMI Park.

England are chasing a glorious series whitewash in Sydney on Saturday, but will do so amid a dig from Cheika about the style of rugby adopted by their head coach Eddie Jones.

"Maybe now they've won the series they'll open up a bit more. Teams that I think are dull throw it around a little bit more because they've won the series. They'll be a bit freer I suppose," Cheika said.

"Eddie and me play different footy. We are not set up to play kick and chase footy. We play running rugby

"All the teams that have I've been involved with as a coach played lots of footy. When it doesn't work, you get hit on the counter. I believe that you stay at it and you overcome."

Australia reached the final of last autumn's World Cup by playing attacking rugby and Cheika has no intention of deviating from the philosophy that served him well until England arrived Down Under three weeks ago.

"Speaking to a lot of our supporters, they want to see us keep playing footy. They don't always understand why you lose, but they want to see us keep playing footy," Cheika said.

"I want to do that too and I'm prepared to continue to do that for as long as it takes for us to play that way consistently.

"I don't know that's the priority for everybody. It shouldn't be. Just because we want to do it that way doesn't mean everyone should have to.

"When I coached Leinster against Munster the supporters would get dirty if the fly-half passed it.

"They loved to be going forwards and having mauls. Everyone has their thing and that's our thing."

Cheika has been criticised for failing to engage with Jones, his former Randwick team-mate and a predecessor as Wallabies coach, in any mind games during the series.

New Zealand boss Steve Hansen even claimed this week that Cheika had allowed himself to be bullied by Jones during the phoney war waged in the media, resulting in the Wallabies enduring a similar fate on the pitch.

Jones has repeatedly described Cheika as the best coach in world rugby in reference to him winning that award for 2015 on the strength of events at the World Cup, and the remarks have not gone unnoticed.

"Eddie has got a different style to me. That stuff's not my go," Cheika said.

"When you're coaching a club, it's a little bit different because you can get stuck in a bit more, you can have a bit of edge or ribbing, you can play that card.

"But for me, when you are coaching your country, there is a different responsibility. That's how I see it. We're still building as a team.

"I know 'world coach of the year' and all that business. That fact that he's referred to that shows how peripheral it is, because I know he doesn't mean that. Even the opposition coach jokes about it.

"The reality is Steve Hansen probably should have won it anyway. I don't know why it was given to me. But I'm not worried about that other bit. It's all peripheral, it's entertainment."

Cheika accepts he is going through a challenging period, but will not forget from where the hurtful blows have come.

"It's character-building. It's about doing your absolute best and letting the cards fall the way they do," Cheika said.

"It's tough but rugby is a game about getting up off the floor and fighting back. A lot of chaps want to kick you when you're down, but you'll always keep the scars and the bruises for later on and remember where they are."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph