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Dublin: 14°C Friday 23 April 2021

'I can always come back on holidays': Strictly business for Cheika on return to Dublin

The former Leinster coach is focused on the task in hand.

Cheika watches over his squad as they trained at the RDS earlier.
Cheika watches over his squad as they trained at the RDS earlier.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

MICHAEL CHEIKA INSISTS he’s purely focused on preparing his team for Saturday’s Test match and is not letting the distraction of meeting up with old friends get in his way.

The Australia head coach lived in Dublin for five years during his time in charge of Leinster and his return this week is the second time he’s been back since departing in 2010.

While the 49-year-old has made every effort to get out and about the capital during the build-up to the much-anticipated clash with Ireland, he reiterated that this trip is purely business.

“There’s a lot of things that I suppose are on the line for us,” he said.

“Obviously it would be very enjoyable for me [to win in Dublin], I’ve spent so many good years here. I was very disappointed to lose here in 2014 when we came but that’s not what it’s really about at the end of the day.

“Our thing is we’ve come here with a third of a new squad from when we came to Europe last year before the World Cup. A lot of those guys haven’t played in Europe before so the atmosphere of playing in Lansdowne Road and that challenge. It’s really difficult to win in Europe so for our guys who haven’t had those experiences, it will be a big game.”

Michael Cheika Cheika looks out over the RDS during today's press conference. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Australia’s preparations were temporarily disrupted when they were forced to change their training base to the RDS because of problems with the pitch at Terenure College.

But the venue switch allowed Cheika to return to his old stomping ground.

“Yeah, it’s been good,” he said of coming back to the RDS.

“Started off at Donnybrook and then moved here. It was a brilliant venue, still is, I can see that. I mean the pride that they have here and what’s happened in the province. It’s been nice to back down here, always plenty of good memories.”

When asked if he had been able to grab a coffee with some familiar faces, Cheika added: “With a few, with a few — and I’ll try and get around to a few more today and tomorrow but at the end of the day I can always come back for holidays.

“This is about having the team 100% committed and being prepared as best as possible and that’s all we can do. And then we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

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Ryan Bailey

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