Wal­la­bies coach says play­ers must be ac­count­able for dis­plays

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - DIGEST - VINCE RUGARI

RUGBY UNION: Talk is cheap and Wal­la­bies coach Michael Cheika knows the only way to pla­cate an in­creas­ingly ag­i­tated Aus­tralian rugby fan base, af­ter let­ting them down once again, is through ac­tions on the field.

The Wal­la­bies have ar­rived at yet an­other cross­roads af­ter Satur­day night’s limp 23-19 loss to Ar­gentina – the first time Los Pu­mas have pre­vailed on Aus­tralian soil in 35 years.

Once the dis­be­lief sub­sided, the level of dis­gust among sup­port­ers was pal­pa­ble at Cbus Su­per Sta­dium on the Gold Coast.

The scene it­self was scarcely be­liev­able.

One man was so an­gry his ver­bal tirade at play­ers led to a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion with Lukhan Tui and sev­eral other Wal­la­bies.

While there is no ex­cus­ing the man’s ac­tions – par­tic­u­larly if he pushed Tui’s younger sis­ter as al­leged – the re­al­ity is events would not have un­folded the way they did had the team held up their end of the bar­gain.

Cheika said he fully recog­nised the frus­tra­tion of sup­port­ers.

“I un­der­stand how fans get dis­ap­pointed. I’m dis­ap­pointed as well,” he said yes­ter­day.

“I saw he was there in his Wal­laby jersey as well, it’s not like he doesn’t want us to win.

“He wants us to win badly. Some­times that goes pear-shaped.

“There’s a lot of sup­port­ers out there, no mat­ter what, they’re al­ways be­hind you. You’ve got to al­ways be mind­ful of those peo­ple.

“You can’t be talk­ing about keep­ing the faith, you’ve got to show it.”

Next up for the Wal­la­bies is a trip to Port Elizabeth in South Africa to face a Spring­boks out­fit com­ing off a stun­ning 36-34 win over the All Blacks in Welling­ton.

Af­ter that is a re­match with Ar­gentina in Salta, in high-al­ti­tude con­di­tions which the Wal­la­bies have tra­di­tion­ally strug­gled with.

Cheika was frank about his team’s lack of “en­thu­si­asm” and said he would dis­sect the vi­sion of their lat­est catas­tro­phe be­fore de­cid­ing if he would swing the se­lec­tion axe in re­sponse.

“(It was) ob­vi­ously tough last night. (We) should feel bad. It’s the game, you’ve got to pick your­self up and onto the next one,” he said.

“Now we get a run of games away from home and we’re go­ing to have to get more con­sis­tent ... (bring) bet­ter qual­ity play and be more con­sis­tent with it and be ac­count­able for that.”

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