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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 13 October, 2019

Wallabies defend under-pressure Michael Cheika after Bledisloe loss

Australia face a second test in Eden Park on Saturday.

The former Leinster boss has faced fresh calls to be sacked.
The former Leinster boss has faced fresh calls to be sacked.
Image: Photosport/David Neilson/INPHO

WALLABIES HOOKER Tatafu Polota-Nau has backed Michael Cheika in the wake of yet another Bledisloe Cup loss to New Zealand last weekend, saying the coach’s players let him down.

Cheika has come under fire after Australia’s second-half submission in Sydney left them on the verge of losing the Bledisloe series for the 16th straight year.

Veteran pundit Greg Growden has called for Cheika and his coaching staff to be sacked, writing: “They must try to lure Joe Schmidt from Ireland, maybe even entice a Wayne Bennett or Craig Bellamy-like figure across from the rugby league ranks. Anything … because this rot has to stop.”

But Polota-Nau said the players on the park should be taking the heat.

“He’s definitely the best man for the job,” Polota-Nau said, describing Cheika as a great motivator who had the right blueprint for the Wallabies to succeed.

“It’s more about how we take that blueprint and put it out there on the field,” he added.

“At the end of the day we’re the guys out there on the field and only we can control what the plays are at hand.”

Lock Adam Coleman expressed similar sentiments at the Wallabies’ Waiheke Island base off the Auckland coast, where they are preparing for Saturday’s second Test at Eden Park.

“We’ve got full confidence in this coaching staff and we back them 100 per cent,” Coleman said.

“There has never ever been a question about that so I don’t know where that has come from.”

Australia has not won at Eden Park since 1986 but Polota-Nau dismissed suggestions the record was weighing on the Wallabies’ minds.

“(We) don’t even consider what they call the hoodoo of Eden Park,” he said.

“I’ve played there quite a few times and managed to win only once — in 2009 with the NSW Waratahs — but we have to make sure we use that one opportunity and reminisce on the good times.

“My biggest motivator is to win again at Eden Park.”

© – AFP 2018

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