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Phipps hails coach Cheika

Nick Phipps has hailed new Australia coach Michael Cheika for instilling "so much passion and pride" into the Wallabies set-up.

Cheika's first Test match at the helm since he succeeded Ewen McKenzie last month produced a 33-28 Millennium Stadium victory over Wales.

And Wallabies scrum-half Phipps paid tribute to the former Leinster supremo after Australia put down a marker ahead of the countries' World Cup meeting at Twickenham next October.

"Michael had that cheeky smile afterwards," Phipps said.

"He has got a few things he wants to fine-tune, but he has instilled so much passion and pride and he wants the Australian public to be proud of the way we are playing.

"His speech before the game was great.

"He said to the boys about focusing on exactly what we had to do to get the win, and the boys really responded with that passion and pride."

Phipps also sung the praises of his New South Wales Waratahs half-back partner Bernard Foley, whose 18-point haul from three penalties, three conversions and a drop-goal underpinned Australia's 10th successive victory over Wales.

"He is a tough rooster, he never takes a backward step," Phipps added.

"He directs the boys and he is always building to work well within the structure, but he is the sort of guy who will be on the laptop looking at where he can get even better.

"I played university rugby with him and we are good friends. We have grown up together. We have hooked up again with the Waratahs, and there is a real understanding there."

Phipps and Cheika, though, were in agreement that Australia's latest win against Wales - they have not suffered a defeat in the fixture since November 2008 - will have little bearing on World Cup events next year.

"People keep talking about a psychological advantage, but if anything, it will be stinging them," Phipps said.

"They will be ready for next year's World Cup, and there is no way you can underestimate them.

"We really ground it out in the end. It was good we had that fighting spirit, but I guess we have still got a fair amount of work to do.

"We got a little bit lost in our shape sometimes, and we have to tighten that up in the next few weeks and keep having those hard hit-outs.

"The last few games (against Wales) have been decided by such small margins. People say it can't be luck, but it can be luck sometimes. It was a great contest."

And Cheika added: "I've never seen one game have an impact on another one (World Cup) so far away. But the way we prepare, I like to think in tight games it will always go our way.

"The Welsh are a good team and it always seems to come down to the wire, so it was nice to come out on top against a quality team.

"The performance wasn't perfect, but we created some good situations. Trust comes when you do things more and more often, and hopefully we can build on that this trip and at the same time grab a win here and there."


From Belfast Telegraph