Australia coach Michael Cheika told his players to “suck it up” and move on to the next challenge after being thrashed 36-0 by New Zealand in Auckland.
With the Rugby World Cup getting under way in five weeks’ time, there is little time for the Wallabies to stew and consider what might have been, after again failing to get their hands on the Bledisloe Cup.
They have not won at Eden Park since 1986 or claimed the Bledisloe Cup since 2002, and, aside from a spell early in the game when they were camped by the New Zealand line, Australia never looked like troubling the All Blacks.
Cheika, who admitted to being “terribly disappointed”, nevertheless urged his team to “be resilient” following the heavy loss.
And he said they must not allow their plans for the more important quest in Japan to be knocked off track.
“You’re going to be sad and disappointed but suck it up and get ready for the next one,” said Cheika. “And build into the World Cup just how we’ve always planned to.”
New Zealand made a raft of changes after their 47-26 to Australia a week earlier in Perth, and those paid off handsomely as they raided the Wallabies for five tries.
FULL-TIME | Anton Lienart-Brown puts it in to touch.
Well done @AllBlacks. Too good.
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) August 17, 2019
The teams could yet meet again at the World Cup, and Cheika will not lose sight of the fact Australia were better than their trans-Tasman rivals on home soil.
He added: “We’ve improved a lot since 2018 – on the field and off the field – and we have to take it on the chin.
“If you’d asked me how I was feeling yesterday or before the game, I was feeling really good about the improvements we’d made.
“And as terribly disappointed as I am about the game, I’m not going to throw them away, I’m going to put them into context.”
Cheika is due to name his 31-man squad for the World Cup on Friday and said he would not rush to judge the team on the Eden Park performance.
He said, according to the Wallabies’ website: “We just wanted all the games to play out and then we’ll sit down early in the week and get it done.”
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