Cheika tells Wal­la­bies to dream big in Europe

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia coach Michael Cheika has urged his side to aim high dur­ing their tour of Europe as they look to fin­ish a tough 2016 with a flour­ish.

Cheika’s men have the chance to em­u­late the cel­e­brated 1984 Wal­la­bies that fea­tured the likes of David Cam­pese, Michael Ly­nagh and Mark Ella by com­plet­ing a Grand Slam-vic­to­ries over Eng­land, Scot­land, Ire­land and Wales on one tour.

Aus­tralia will also play France in Paris on Novem­ber 19 in a run of five in­ter­na­tion­als on suc­ces­sive week­ends, start­ing with Satur­day’s clash against Wales in Cardiff.

Aus­tralia gave New Zealand a few awk­ward mo­ments be­fore los­ing last year’s World Cup fi­nal at Twick­en­ham, but 2016 has seen the Wal­la­bies suf­fer some chas­ten­ing de­feats by the All Blacks, in­clud­ing a 42-6 ham­mer­ing in Syd­ney in Au­gust. That was a low in a run of six straight de­feats that in­cluded a 3-0 series de­feat at home to Eng­land, a side coached by Ed­die Jones, Cheika’s for­mer team-mate at Syd­ney club Rand­wick.

New Zealand then beat Aus­tralia 37-10 in Auck­land to set a new world record for a ma­jor rugby na­tion of 18 suc­ces­sive Test wins, with Cheika fu­ri­ous at be­ing de­picted as a clown in a New Zealand news­pa­per.

Cheika, how­ever, was in more up­beat mood at Aus­tralia’s ar­rival press con­fer­ence in London on Mon­day, say­ing of the Grand Slam: “I think that it’s very im­por­tant for play­ers to have dreams of achiev­ing the big­ger pic­ture items. I re­ally do, I be­lieve that’s im­por­tant.

“If you don’t have those dreams in­side of you, then what are you do­ing it for?

“That’s in the back­ground, but that will only come to fruition when we’re ex­cel­lent ev­ery day and our play­ers are learn­ing. “We’re re­ally try­ing to do the right thing, not just for the short term, but also for the medium term.”

Cheika flew out a day later than his squad af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery fol­low­ing a train­ing ground col­li­sion with pow­er­ful back Is­rael Fo­lau ahead of the Auck­land loss to the All Blacks. The coach tried to keep Fo­lau’s name un­der wraps be­fore scrum-half Nick Frisby spilt the beans at an awards cer­e­mony in Syd­ney on Thurs­day-an event Cheika at­tended with his arm in a sling.

“Izzy’s still on the tour so he’s all right. He didn’t get dropped,” joked Cheika yes­ter­day. “The im­por­tant thing was that he didn’t get in­jured. The coach can’t be in­jur­ing the play­ers. “I have a new em­pa­thy for play­ers re­cov­er­ing from re­con­struc­tive surgery be­cause it’s quite painful. Maybe it is be­cause I am a lit­tle bit older.”— AFP

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