Cheika pulled from Tuesday's Media Call - Green and Gold Rugby

Cheika pulled from Tuesday’s Media Call

Cheika pulled from Tuesday’s Media Call

LONDON – Wallabies coach Michael Cheika did not front the media on Tuesday morning UK time after fanning the flames in a provocative press conference, Monday.

Bernard Foley took the lead instead, demonstrating why his ‘Iceman’ nickname has proven so hard to shake, while GAGR favourite Rob Simmons shed some light on Cheika behind the closed doors.

Bernard Foley Press Conference Wallabies

A cool, calm and collected Foley addressed the monkey on the Wallabies’ backs following the 3-nil whitewash at home.

“Test footy is a matter of margins,” Foley said, discussing the biggest lessons he learned in June.

“In a lot of those games we weren’t that far off, the attack was alright but we were sloppy in defence and in discipline and that hurt us.”

“The side’s moved on and come a long way since June. The side has matured,” Foley said.

The changing of the Wallabies guard post-Rugby World Cup has seen 13 new faces injected in to the side, including debutants Reece Hodge, Adam Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty.

While the new talent is exciting and bodes well for the future, the biggest casualty of the Wallabies’ generational shift is their ability to tap in to the mojo that carried the team into the Cup Final in 2015.

“This year’s been very character-building for this side,” Foley said. “For me it’s just getting everyone up the level of knowing their roles in the style we want to play and just sticking to that.

“When this side is playing good footy we can match it with anyone in the world. What we’re trying to do is be consistent and we have to do that for 80 minutes and not just for one half.

“We know that isn’t enough at this level.”

There was no clearer evidence of that fact than the Wallabies 27-24 defeat in Dublin last weekend.

The side struggled to kick into gear in the first half on attack, leaving them a 17-nil deficit to chase before Dane Haylett-Petty’s 39th minute try.

“It took us the first 35 minutes to get in to the game and against a quality side like Ireland you can’t afford to give them that,” Foley continued.

“We created a lot of opportunities that we didn’t take and that was the disappointing thing.

On Cheika’s fiery form at yesterday’s press conference, Foley left it to Simmons to elaborate further but did explain where his coach’s excitement was coming from.

Foley said: “He’s more disappointed with the loss on the weekend and it’s such a big occassion playing England at Twickenham. They’re a side that haven’t lost this year and I think it’s a great challenge for us.”

Simmons produced the line of week so far with a chuckle.

“If you think he’s fired up in a media conference, you haven’t seen anything,” Simmons said. “He gets stuck in to us every day anyway.”

"You amateurs haven't seen Cheika come close to REALLY losing it"

You amateurs haven’t seen him come close to REALLY losing it

“I don’t think this group needs extra motivation with things like that. We’re all pretty well driven and excited about this weekend.

“I definitely hope it the game is [there for the taking]. We’re preparing the best we can and whatever happens on the weekend will be what it is.

“I really enjoyed watching Billy [Vunipola] play. He’s quite a talented No.8 and he’ll be a big loss for their team. They play a lot of their footy off the back of his big carries so whoever has to fill those shoes will have a big task on their hands.”

  • mikado

    If you guys are interested there’s some great analysis from Murray Kinsella on Ireland versus David Pocock:

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s very much how NZ manages to nullify him as well. unfortunately Pocock doesn’t get the support he needs from a big 8 and an effective 6 to counter some of those. That’s where I think the Pooper and Mumm fails to deliver

      • mikado

        Yeah I think that analysis very much backs up your concerns about the Aussie back row. Or, for that matter, the whole team as other teams use people other than back-rowers to jackal at rucks.

      • Brendan Hume

        100% correct. Hooper is a really good footy player but Pocock’s skill over the ball is unsurpassed. The problem is you can’t have your 8 doing this sort of stuff – you need him making big carries and big tackles.

        Such a shame that Cheika hasn’t been able to see that just because you’ve got two world class players doesn’t mean you have to play them at the same time.

        It’s an area that NZ manage very well – the best player plays in their position nearly all of the time.

    • Fatflanker

      Its an excellent analysis. It does reinforce the impression the Irish got a bit of leniency holding on to the ball after Pocock got his hands on it but also that Pocock was very heavily targeted and got very little in the way of support.

    • Greg

      The bit I don’t get is Cheika’s reaction.

      I am sure he can see the issue.

    • Missing Link

      It’s a great analysis by Murray – he’s honest and calls out Ireland’s actions leading to Ringrose try as being illegal.

      It’s just a shame that Garces dismisses both the holding down of Pocock and the obstruction using 2 conveniently lazy Irish forwards in our backline. It was there for all to see… except Garces

    • Greg

      “We can see above that Henderson has driven Pocock to ground almost five metres ahead of the ball,”

      I struggle with why this was not a penalty.

    • Brumby Runner

      The number of involvements and the threat he poses to opposition ball is just mind-blowing. Surely the best player in the Wallabies’ side and has been for quite some time.

    • idiot savant

      Thanks Mikado. An 8 playing 7. Why doesnt Pocock wear the same coloured headgear as the other forwards? Does he think that he will get more penalties because the ref knows its him? Because it sure makes it obvious to the opposition who can target him.

    • Mica

      WRT the analysis in the above link, there are a couple of times Murray asserts that Pocock doesn’t arrive through the gate and should have been penalised.

      Murray writes:

      “Again, we see Pocock’s ability to paint a good picture for the referee even if his approach to the ball is questionable.
      We can see above that Pocock is essentially coming into the breakdown via that ‘side wall’, but again he instantly snaps his body into the correct position with his feet in behind the tackled player.”

      I think that a number of these are tackle only (1:57 & 18:37).
      In years past there was talk about going through the “gate” at a ruck (i.e. not from the side or offside) and also to a lesser extent about a tackle gate which seems to be in relation to “other players who play the ball must do so from behind the ball and from directly behind the tackled player or the tackler closest to those players’ goal line.” – Law 15.6 (d).
      Lastly there has been a number of times recently where a player seemed to be offside and getting possession of the ball only to have the referee advise that it was a tackle only and therefore general play and no offside line. (I recall Pocock being the beneficiary of this on the weekend and also the Kiwis in at least one of the Bled games this year)
      So my question, since I would call the above circumstances a tackle only, is Pocock’s action of stepping in from the side (around the tackled player) ok? In my opinion and understanding there is no side entry and no penalties in these circumstances.
      Thoughts? Especially keen for the opinion of any refs out there.

      • doesn’t matter if they are tackles only Pocock has to come from the direction of his own goal line. Even if there is no ruck formed you must not approach the tackle from an offside position – this is why pocock was ok to stand where he did when murray passed to him, he just couldn’t move towards the ball because he would have been penalised.

    • Parker

      Excellent analysis. Thanks for the link.


Nic is a freelance journalist who first tried his hand writing for Green & Gold Rugby as a schoolboy. Five years on, Nic is our resident expert on Brisbane’s local rugby scene not named RugbyReg. In April 2018 Nic releases his first book, the official biography of Waisale Serevi entitled 'Waisale Serevi: The King of Sevens'.

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