'It's my heritage': League stint a highlight for Cheika
REACTION: Working with Lebanon in the Rugby League World Cup in the days leading up to the Pumas beating England 30-29 at Twickenham on Sunday has energized Argentina coach Michael Cheika.
But Cheika, who played alongside Red Rose coach Eddie Jones at Sydney club Randwick, refused to read too much into Sunday’s result ahead of Argentina’s World Cup pool opener against England in Marseille on September 9.
“I’m not big on laying the markers and all that type of stuff,” he said.
“It will be a totally different game.”
Under Cheika, the Pumas beat the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in August.
Discipline, however, has been an issue in recent times but on Sunday both Argentina and England conceded 10 penalties each.
“Defensively, we probably played more without the ball but we took better decisions and weren’t penalised as much as we were against South Africa,” said Cheika.
Emiliano Boffelli scored 25 of Argentina’s points, including one of their two tries, in what was a dress rehearsal for next year’s rugby union World Cup clash between the two teams as the Pumas emerged victorious in their Autumn Nations Series opener.
Cheika, the Sydney-born son of Lebanese immigrants, had been in charge of the Cedars as they suffered a 48-4 quarterfinal loss to reigning league world champions Australia in Huddersfield, on Friday.
“To be honest, I’ve loved it. I love being here with these fellas, they are good to be around, they make you want to get up in the morning and do your absolute best to prepare them,” Cheika told reporters.
“The experience with Lebanon, it’s my heritage and my family’s heritage, the Rugby League World Cup was probably one of the best in my life, sporting wise.
“That connection back to your heritage and coaching guys from totally different levels of footie, amateurs, it gave me so much energy.
“It could have been a perfect weekend, but if we are going to get beat, may as well get beat by Australia.”
Sunday’s win was just Argentina’s second over England at Twickenham following a 25-18 triumph back in 2006.
The win also saw Argentina end a run of three successive defeats by all opponents, including back-to-back losses against world champions South Africa in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and a 10-match losing streak against England.
“It was tricky too because no one in that (Argentina) side had won against England before,” said Cheika, Australia’s coach when they defeated England at Twickenham during the 2015 World Cup.
“So you’ve got to combine the mental side of it with the tactical and the technical and of course it was only a small margin too.”
Argentina’s tour continues next weekend against a Wales side overwhelmed 55-23 by New Zealand in Cardiff on Saturday.