Wellington - Australian coach Michael Cheika struck back
Friday at mounting criticism of his side as he looks for a face-saving
performance in Saturday's second Test against New Zealand.
After being humiliated 42-8 in Sydney last week, the
Wallabies have been publicly rubbished by fans, the media and even ex-Test
players ahead of the return match in Wellington.
But Cheika suggested such a reaction was un-Australian and
true supporters would back the team.
In a scathing review, former Wallabies skipper Stirling
Mortlock said the side had problems across the board.
"There's set piece issues, there's defence issues,
there's breakdown issues, there's kicking issues ... there's not many good things
going on currently," Mortlock said.
Ex-Test player Clyde Rathbone said the Wallabies were
delusional about their ability, adding they were "almost certainly not
going to win" the return clash.
But Cheika put on a brave face, saying the team had conducted
a thorough analysis of last week's performance and believed they had addressed
the key issues.
"Obviously it's going to be a difficult match to come
back into after last week," he said.
"Over the week you've got to regain your confidence and
your belief and say 'how are we going to do this?'
"Internally we understand exactly what we need to
But Cheika said the barbs from former Wallabies hurt,
although a lot of other players had made contact with the team and offered
"When it gets tough, it's very easy for people to jump
on and put the boot in and we have to take it because we haven't
performed," he said.
"But when it gets tough that's the time you show your
colours. I know where my colours are.
"At the end of the day, no matter what sport
Australia's playing I'll be supporting them no matter what," he said,
recalling how he backed former Australian cricket great Greg Chappell when he
went through a bad patch against the West Indies in 1981.
Wallabies captain Stephen Moore also dismissed the
"All I care about is my teammates and coaches and what
we're doing internally because they provide enough motivation for me to want to