Cheika's 'personal' speech inspires Wallabies
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: Micheal Cheika’s second-half spray handed Australia the inspiration to record an impressive win over Argentina.
Australia came back from a 24-point deficit to beat Argentina 45-34 in Salta on Saturday.
Argentina scored four first-half tries to lead 31-7 at the break.
However, there was a massive switch at half-time as the Wallabies 38-point (five-try) second-half rout made sure they avoid the wooden spoon.
The result is good news for the under-fire coach Michael Cheika, who has been criticised heavily after a disastrous Rugby Championship campaign.
Following the historic comeback, when Cheika was asked what was said at the break, the outspoken coach revealed he was simply attempting to get his players to think about how much they wanted to win.
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“It’s not really for public airing but this game is personal,” he said.
“Everything’s got to have personal meaning and we needed to get some personal meaning for our game because in the first half it wasn’t there and once the lads got some meaning about what they wanted to do and some purpose, they played a heap better, a heap better.
“I just wanted to say what I felt, that’s all.
“I didn’t go down there with a plan of doing that or anything like that. I just wanted to say what I felt because the game is personal.
“I wanted to just let them know how I felt,”
Whether the lessons about “meaning” will stick when they take on the All Blacks in Japan in the final 2018 Bledisloe Cup series in three weeks time remains to be seen.
That, Cheika said, was each player’s personal responsibility.
“The clever guys, the smart guys will learn from that and take that on board so that it makes them better rugby players and better representatives of Australia when they go out on the field,” he said.
“I think that’s extremely important.
“We can’t guarantee anything – you stay grounded after a half of footy which, there was a lot of really great passages, some great rugby played and also the defence, it was like it wasn’t the same team defending.
“We’ve just got to count on taking that lesson to the next game because the only thing that counts is the next game in Japan against New Zealand and we’ve got to start to get ourselves mentally ready for that game and physically ready and then technically ready as well is the last piece,”