The Wallabies have completed a comeback of epic proportions, coming back from 31-7 down at halftime to beat Argentina 45-34 and avoid the wooden spoon in their final Rugby Championship test in Salta.
The Wallabies exacted revenge on the team that had beaten them at home just weeks earlier and were able to alleviate some of the pressure both the team and head coach Michael Cheika have come under in recent times.
An impassioned speech made by Cheika at halftime to his clearly struggling troops may have given the Wallabies the boost they needed as they came out of the sheds firing.
— The Rugby Pod (@TheRugbyPod) October 6, 2018
The team and Cheika had been criticised heavily after a disastrous first half and the knives were out on social media.
You’re in good company
— Scotty Stevenson (@sumostevenson) October 6, 2018
Cheika is a mourinho man walking!!!! This is absolute filth #ARGvAUS
— Clint Stevens (@clintstevens123) October 6, 2018
After the match Cheika was asked what was said, to which he responded “I suppose it’s not really for the public.”
“This game is personal, everything’s got to have personal meaning and we needed to get some personal meaning for our game,” he continued.
“The first half it wasn’t there. Once the lads got some meaning behind what they wanted to do and some purpose, they played a heap better.”
“At halftime it didn’t look like Australia was going to do well. The boys who were wearing the jersey made a decision to try to turn that around and they were able to do that and that means something.
“When it means something, you sing louder. You run harder, you tackle harder. When it means something to you, everything’s bigger, louder, stronger and that’s probably why we were like that.”
Fox Sports commentator Nick McArdle said of the speech “I haven’t seen him [Cheika] like that. He was wild with emotion”.
Former Wallabies George Gregan and Phil Kearns agreed that Cheika’s actions were necessary.
“You don’t get that reaction from players if you do that every week and he shouldn’t be in that position every week,” Gregan said.
“There was no way they trained the way they played in that first half,” Kearns added.
Though the speech was unable to be heard, Kearns and McArdle tried to dissect what the visibly upset Cheika may have been saying to his players at halftime.
“It’s been all about Michael Cheika this week and if he is going to save his job and if the players are going to play for Michael Cheika. Surely it has to happen in the next 40 minutes,” McArdle said. “Is he imploring his players, ‘show me something’!”.
“I think that’s all he can do,” Kearns replied. “Go back to the stuff that we’ve trained all week. We’re not playing like we train is probably what he’s saying.”
McArdle noted that in the changing rooms the Wallabies looked simply “devastated” while Gregan said they “look like a team that are down on confidence. and that’s definitely what they are”.
The second half saw a different Wallabies side emerge, as they roared back with five tries to claim the 45-34 victory and extricate themselves from the bottom of the table.
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