Apr 20

Wallabies get angry in bid to beat Wales


CARDIFF: The Wallabies have been told to find a mean streak if they want to keep their Test jerseys as coach Michael Cheika warns the players to brace for short-term pain on the pursuit of success.

The Wallabies will take on the architect of their British and Irish Lions downfall, Warren Gatland, when they play Wales in Cardiff on Sunday morning Australian time.

The Gatland-led Lions beat the Wallabies 2-1 in the historic tour last year, triggering a disastrous 16 months for Australian rugby and ending Robbie Deans’ stint as coach.

Cheika admits there’s “no magic solution” for an immediate turnaround, but the NSW Waratahs coach says hard work and physicality will be the foundation of his plan.

Cheika wants the players to make “maintaining the anger” a habit as they start a four-Test challenge against Wales, France, Ireland and England.

“No one has the right way … it’s who can get everyone doing it their way that gets the better outcome, there’s no magic solution,” Cheika said.

“Just being able to maintain the anger you need to have to play 80 minutes in a contact sport. If I can get the team in the image we want to portray, then I see the results as a consequence.

“We’ve got to get in the habit of working hard, there’s going to be a bit of pain because [the players] not used to it. It’s about triggering the mental side, it’s not like we’re running marathons.”

The Wallabies will be bolstered by the return of several key players for the first Test of their five-week tour, including Michael Hooper, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Phipps.

Quade Cooper and Will Genia enjoyed their first international starting appearance in 12 months against the Barbarians last weekend, but both are still fighting for spots in the Test team.

Barbarians coach and All Blacks great John Kirwan believes fellow New Zealander Gatland’s unusual silence is a sign the Welsh are ready to launch their World Cup ambitions and ambush Australia.

The Wallabies play Wales and England in the pool stages at the World Cup next year.

“I like Michael, I think he’s an outstanding man and I know Australia have gone through some hard times,” Kirwan said.

“It’s going to be a humdinger [of a tour], I’m sure Michael will be the first one to say he wants to beat Wales. Gats has been quiet, that’s scary and I’m sure he’s got something planned.”

Cheika is changing the “shape” of the Wallabies in attack and defence and says it will take time for his players to adapt to a new plan.

“We’re going to change things and there’s going to be some pain, guaranteed. That’s just the way it is,” Cheika said.

“We feel that the changes we are making can give the team some consistency at that level. It’s not going to be perfect, we don’t expect it to.

“This tour is about building the on-field cohesion and the off-field attitude of the team. I don’t think it’s any secret that teams I coach like to play with a pressure defence, that takes a lot of trust and cohesion.”

Cheika’s mark on the Wallabies was evident immediately, with Australia using the Waratahs’ tactic of starting from 10 metres behind halfway before the kick-off and then charging through the line.

“It’s symbolic, we’re prepared to run 10 metres to gain 20 centimetres at the other end if that’s what it takes.

“Maybe that’s symbolic about how we want to approach, we need to push hard to get the small gains.”

Stand-in Wallabies skipper Matt Hodgson will be replaced by Hooper this week, but said a morale-boosting win was crucial.

“It’s good to finally play football, that’s what we enjoy doing and that’s what we’re here for.

“We will enjoy the good times and then get back to work.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.