International Rugby

Wallabies not in disarray, insists Cheika

Australia coach Michael Cheika is sure his side will not be affected by pre-match disciplinary measures when they face England on Saturday.

Experienced backs Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale will each miss the final match of Australia’s tour, after they breached team rules by having uninvited guests in their hotel rooms in Cardiff earlier this month.

In a news conference on Friday, a reporter asked Cheika and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper if there was a chance fans would see a “team in disarray” at Twickenham.

“I think disarray is a little bit harsh,” replied Cheika. “This [breach of discipline] is an equivalent of someone being late or missing curfew or whatever and then the punishment has been dealt down. If anything, it’s a team that’s got clarity on where it wants to go.

“Maybe [we’re] not perfect now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to be the king of anything, we’ve got a long way to go. When I say a long way, we’ve got a period of time to get to where we want to go and we want to take the steps to do that. So if anything it shows direction, not the opposite.”

Turning his focus to Saturday’s game, Cheika said: “I suppose [we do have our] backs to the wall, but the players are committed to going to the well more than they have at any stage this season. I think that’s something we really need to do tomorrow and we’ll love it too.

“We love coming out here and playing; we’re going to cop a heap of grief, probably a little bit more after today for sure, but you’ve got to love it. You can’t help but enjoy that and we’ll give back as good as we get. And we’ll have a good time as well.

“Sometimes you make errors of judgement, you make mistakes, you feel bad, but then when kick-off time comes everything is forgotten and it’s game on.”

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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