If anyone can speak to the intensity needed to beat the All Blacks, then it’s former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, whose been ‘advising’ the Pumas since October.
Cheika won just over a fifth of his 14 games against the All Blacks as head coach of Australia. While some might scoff at that record, no coach has spent more time trying to unpick the All Blacks, arguably rugby union’s most confounding puzzle.
Los Pumas Head coach Mario Ledesma brought Cheika into camp in an advisory role, and it seems the former Waratahs boss was able to make an impact off the field. Inspirational captain Pablo Matera, the star of the victory over Ian Foster’s All Blacks, revealed what Cheika had told the team in the lead up to their historic victory at the Bankwest Stadium.
“The first day he said, ‘Hey, what are you waiting for?’” Matera said. “‘You’ve got everything. You’ve got big physical players, young players, a lot of energy. Just go and take it.’ I think that made us believe a lot more in ourselves too. It’s been great to have him around.”
“We started believing in the team and players we’ve got. We knew we could win this game. We just had to go to the pitch and take it. No one is going to give anything to us.”
Cheika influence on the Pumas didn’t go unnoticed in Wallabies camp, his former players discussing the seismic wing behind closed doors.
“A lot of the boys were very impressed with the way Argentina defended – they didn’t give the All Blacks an inch,” Hodge said on Sunday. “It’s one thing to do it against Australia and another to do it against the All Blacks.
“They have obviously been training very hard and had that game circled for a long time and they were pretty clinical and played with a lot of passion and lot of skill.
“We had a BBQ last night after a big training day and a few boys were discussing how tough a challenge they are going to be.”
“A few sort-of semi-trick plays had Cheika’s fingerprints all over them,” he said. “He’s a deep thinker about the game and I’m sure he will have a few more up his sleeve on Saturday.”
RugbyPass, additional reporting AAP
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