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'It's a first for me too, I've never won a Test match in New Zealand'

Pumas head coach Michael Cheika consoles Sam Cane of the All Blacks after The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina Pumas at Orangetheory Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Michael Cheika was clearly delighted with his Argentina team after their maiden victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand, but said it was vital they were ready to go again against the same opposition in Hamilton next week.


The former Wallabies coach was unapologetic about his enthusiastic celebrations after the Pumas’ 25-18 victory at Christchurch Stadium on Saturday, which put them top of the Rugby Championship after three rounds.

“For those Argentina boys, that’s historic for them and I want them to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a first for me too, I’ve never won a Test match in New Zealand.

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“I’m looking to grow the team, particularly towards the World Cup, and what’s important for us now is getting ready for next week.”

Cheika, who has now overseen four wins from six matches in his first season in charge of Argentina, said he did not hold back in his pre-match and halftime team talks.

“They are guys who haven’t won a lot of Rugby Championship games and maybe not a lot of self belief,” he said.

“So you’ve got to bring (emotion) as well as the technical to make them believe in themselves.


“We knew we had to bring intensity, we knew they had a bit of pressure on them so we had to try and build on that, and then just take it from there and see where the game lands.”

Cheika paid credit to his new defensive coach Dave Kidwell for what he had brought to the team.

Kidwell was born in Christchurch and has a mural in the city honouring his days as a player and coach with the New Zealand rugby league team.



“It was awesome, the guys have been building week by week and this is just the result of the hard work they’ve been doing,” Kidwell said.

“It’s all about the connection in the line and moving as one, making sure we’re tackling well. It’s pretty simple.”

While Kidwell confessed to having some mixed feelings as a “Maori boy at heart”, there were no such conflicts for Argentina’s Pablo Matera, who played the last Super Rugby Pacific season for the Christchurch-based Crusaders.

“It’s like a dream come true,” said the inspirational number eight.

“Being able to beat the All Blacks for the first time in our history on New Zealand ground is very special and to do it in Christchurch, a place that I love, a place that I feel like home, is even more special.”


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