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'It's not going to stop us' - Cheika defiant despite home hammering against All Blacks

The Wallabies capitulated in today’s first half against New Zealand.

Australia coach Michael Cheika and captain Michael Hooper.
Australia coach Michael Cheika and captain Michael Hooper.

MICHAEL CHEIKA IS confident Australia will close the gap to New Zealand for the second round of the Rugby Championship after a disastrous first 40 minutes in Sydney.

The Wallabies were outclassed early in today’s opening game as the All Blacks ran in six tries to take a 40-6 lead at the break, Steve Hansen’s side exposing massive flaws in Australia’s defensive play.

A mix of pace and precision left the crowd at ANZ Stadium silent and a humiliating defeat looked on the cards, but Australia restored some dignity with a second-half fightback — the match finishing 54-34 to the world champions.

Cheika was highly critical of his side’s performance in his post-match media conference, but is confident they can improve before the return clash in Dunedin next weekend.

“I think it was pretty plain to see that our defence was not good enough at all, the tackling’s got to be better,” he said. “That first part of the game is not the level that you can be at, not in any game, let alone a game against them [New Zealand].

“With the team we’ve got, the points should be coming, we’ve got an attacking type of team so we should be scoring points, but you’ve got to have both sides of the game. We’ve spoken about it, everyone understands what we need to do to rectify it next week — both mentally and on the training paddock.”

He added: “But I know that we’ll improve. We’ve got to do some quick improving before the next game because we want to keep this series [the Bledisloe Cup] alive.

“I don’t think there is going to be a lot of changes, the change has to be more about believing in ourselves to make the hits when we need to, making sure we’re coming up in defence and not worrying about what the opposition might be doing.

“They’ll do it. This group have a very strong connection, this is a road block in front of course, it’s going to knock us down but it’s not going to stop us.”

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