Se­nior Wal­la­bies crack whip for Cheika

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - IAIN PAYTEN

WITH the Wal­la­bies trail­ing Ar­gentina by three points af­ter a dozy first half in Can­berra, the scene was set for a trade­mark Michael Cheika spray.

The kind that blis­ters paint on a dress­ing room wall.

But Cheika didn’t need to fire up.

When the coach hit the dress­ing rooms, se­nior play­ers were do­ing the job al­ready and af­ter sig­nif­i­cantly up­ping the in­ten­sity, the Wal­la­bies went on to pump the Pu­mas by 25 points, 45- 20.

It was the Wal­la­bies’ first win in al­most three months but of all the wel­come sights for Cheika on the field in Can­berra, the team’s self- cor­rec­tion in the sheds was among the most sat­is­fy­ing. Cheika said yes­ter­day it was the first time he had seen that trait from this new Wal­la­bies team.

“It’s just the step­ping stones the team is go­ing through. Last night at half­time that was just an­other step for­ward be­cause play­ers were very vo­cal about turn­ing that around, and turn­ing the at­ti­tude around,” Cheika said.

“The play­ers are driv­ing that more and more. I think that’s a good step for­ward be­cause when it comes from them, and they re­alise it, they own it and they have to change it.”

Cheika’s main gripe – shared by the team – was they had failed to play with the ur­gency re­quired for Test rugby in the open­ing 40 min­utes against the Pu­mas.

The en­cour­ag­ing part about the player- driven re­sponse, said Cheika, was that it wasn’t even ini­ti­ated by cap­tain Michael Hooper.

Se­nior play­ers like newlyap­pointed vice- cap­tains Bernard Fo­ley and Will Ge­nia, and re­turned star Kurt­ley Beale, were the loud­est voices be­fore Hooper took over.

MAN­HAN­DLED: Is­rael Fo­lau is wrapped up by Ar­gentina.

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