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Why Michael Cheika found himself crying after Los Pumas win

By Kim Ekin
Argentina's Australian coach Michael Cheika looks on before the series-deciding international rugby union third test match against Scotland at the Madre de Ciudades Stadium in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, on July 16, 2022. (Photo by Pablo GASPARINI / AFP) (Photo by PABLO GASPARINI/AFP via Getty Images)

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Michael Cheika’s Argentina proved too strong for the Wallabies in San Juan on Saturday, taking a 48-17 victory in their second match of the Ruby Championship.

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It was a spanking for the ages and one delivered by a man who just a couple of years ago was trying to construct rather than dismantle the Wallabies edifice.

Los Pumas stunned the Wallabies early as Juan Imhoff snatched up a loose pass to race away and open the scoring in the first minute.

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Things got worse for Australia when a 5-pointer from Argie prop Thomas Gallo extended his side’s advantage to 14-0 with just six minutes on the clock.

Five more Argentinian tries would follow as the Los Pumas recorded a record win over the men in green and gold.

After the game admits that some very mixed emotions got to him on the final whistle.

“I love these guys, they’re my crew now,” Cheika told reporters after the game. “I was up on the last try, cheering. But then I started crying because I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this. It was a bit confusing for me, personally.

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“But they’re my boys now. That’s my team. I will do everything I can to help them get success and enjoy rugby. They are paying me a lot of respect here and people are believing in the things that we are doing. I have to do everything I can to help them.”

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Los Pumas now head to New Zealand with their tales, not least as every team in the Rugby Championship is basically on level pegging with one win and one loss apiece.

Cheika’s opposite number – Australia head coach Dave Rennie – had his own emotions to contend with.

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“Massive disappointment. That’s not good enough,” the Kiwi admitted after the match. “We conceded four tries with kicks in behind us and got dominated in the collision area.

“We created plenty of opportunities but we have to be patient – we just weren’t clinical enough.”

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