Aussies must im­prove to beat All Blacks

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

SYD­NEY — Rugby World Cup fi­nal­ists the Wal­la­bies must im­prove rather than hope the All Blacks drop their lofty stan­dards if they are to over­haul the triple cham­pi­ons, coach Michael Cheika said yes­ter­day.

The Aus­tralians ar­rived home dur­ing the morn­ing af­ter los­ing 34-17 to the All Blacks in last week­end’s fi­nal at Twick­en­ham.

While the Wal­la­bies have re­gained re­spect and more fol­low­ers in their own coun­try af­ter their World Cup ex­ploits, Cheika warned his team had to do bet­ter if they are to reach the sum­mit of world rugby.

The All Blacks be­came the first team to win three Rugby World Cups, but face a breakup with string of in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ments headed by World Player of the Year Dan Carter along with Test cen­tu­ri­ons Keven Mealamu, Tony Wood­cock and Ma’a Nonu as well as cen­tre Con­rad Smith.

Skip­per Richie Mccaw, rated by coach Steve Hansen as the great­est All Black, is also un­de­cided about his play­ing fu­ture.

“Our goal is to im­prove, not to be wait­ing for other teams to go worse be­cause of this or that rea­son,” Cheika told re­porters at Syd­ney air­port. the England de­fender’s in­ter­ven­tion, but not for the first time re­ferred to him er­ro­neously as ‘Michael’.

“Doumbia, that was the only at­tack of CSKA Moscow (when) a player of Manch­ester United stepped in on the wrong way,” said Van Gaal, whose side now lead PSV Eind­hoven and Wolfs­burg by a point.

“And then David de Gea has saved us and af­ter that Michael Smalling has saved us. But that’s also foot­ball, that you are run­ning every­thing out of your body to pre­vent goals.

“It is fan­tas­tic to see that Smalling is do­ing that.”

“I don’t think they (New Zealand) will (get worse), they’ve got so much depth over there.

“I think they will only im­prove as well.”

Cheika said beat­ing England in next year’s three-test home se­ries would be his next ob­jec­tive rather than look­ing to end the 13-year Bledis­loe Cup drought against New Zealand.

He was non-com­mit­tal about whether he would com­plete a full four-year term af­ter hav­ing been named world rugby’s Coach of the Year af­ter just 12 months in the job.

“I’m in to 2017 and for me it’s ir­rel­e­vant whether I’m on to 2019 or 2017, or 2016, I want to do the best so the team is in the right po­si­tion to keep get­ting bet­ter in the fu­ture,” Cheika said.

Aus­tralian Rugby Union boss Bill Pul­ver said Cheika had done a re­mark­able job but there was no ur­gency to ex­tend his con­tract given he was al­ready locked in for the next two years.

Full­back Is­rael Fo­lau ranks the World Cup as the high­light of his ca­reer, even though he was not happy with his own form in the tour­na­ment.

“Be­ing part of a World Cup on an in­ter­na­tional level, it doesn’t get any higher than that, so for me it’s got to be at the top of my list,” Fo­lau told re­porters.

Fo­lau was rel­a­tively sub­dued in the lat­ter stages of the fi­nals af­ter in­jur­ing an an­kle in a pool game.

“I wasn’t happy with how things went, ob­vi­ously I think the in­jury set me back,” said Fo­lau, who will shortly start a stint in Ja­pan.

“But in say­ing that, that’s part and par­cel of what comes with the game.

“But I guess I can learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence now and the next time I go through some­thing like this I can go through it in a more pos­i­tive way.” — AFP CAPE TOWN — Former Spring­bok coach Pe­ter de Vil­liers (pic­tured) has hit out at in­cum­bent Heyneke Meyer af­ter the Boks failed to win the Rugby World Cup. A nar­row 20-18 semi-fi­nal loss to even­tual cham­pi­ons New Zealand ended South Africa’s hopes of win­ning a third World Cup.

De Vil­liers, whose ten­ure as Bok coach ended with a quar­ter-fi­nal de­feat to Aus­tralia at the 2011 World Cup, also feels Meyer has not done enough to trans­form the team.

De Vil­liers has also hinted that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is not com­mit­ted to trans­for­ma­tion.

“SARU clearly knows about one box that Meyer has ticked — it may well be that Meyer is push­ing its agenda of not want­ing to trans­form,” De Vil­liers wrote in his TIMESLIVE col­umn.

“By only af­ford­ing Rudy Paige three min­utes of game time against Ar­gentina and omit­ting Siya Kolisi from the match-day 23, Meyer took hope away from our chil­dren who want to be­come Spring­boks. Paige and Kolisi - the fu­ture of South African rugby - didn’t ex­clude them­selves.

“South Africa didn’t utilise their whole squad to the best of their abil­ity in the pool stages given the op­po­si­tion, and missed an op­por­tu­nity to blood the young guns dur­ing the bronze-medal match. In ev­ery war there are ca­su­al­ties and Meyer has done the afore­men­tioned play­ers a dis­ser­vice”.

— AFP

The All Blacks lift the World Cup af­ter beat­ing Aus­tralia in the fi­nal last Satur­day.

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