Wallabies coach Michael Cheika doesn’t share the pessimism around Australia’s’ Super Rugby teams that plenty have thrown around in recent weeks.
With just one team – the Rebels – sitting in finals contention at the halfway mark of the season, experts have criticised depth and quality of Australian sides, but Cheika isn’t buying into the negativity.
“Like any season, I’m not going to say it’s all going swimmingly and we’d like to have a few more wins as a nation as a whole, for sure, but I don’t see (the negativity),” he said
“I’ve been involved in teams that have gone on runs and their position at the midway or halfway through the year doesn’t even look like what it finishes up with.
“Sometimes when you lose that’s part of the game.
“You’ve got to lose and go, ‘I’m ready for the next one, bring it on, let’s play’. People might consider me naive, I don’t know if that’s the attitude, but for me that’s the oldest school value of rugby.
Australia’s great white hope in the Brumbies has fallen short of all but one New Zealand opponent so far this season but Cheika said there was plenty more Super Rugby to play out for evey team.
“A couple of losses (are) not going to sway me from believing in the team,” he said.
“The position on the table counts at the end for those teams and the form of those players will also decide what they do going forward.
“There’s always another game the next week to show what they’ve got.”
For the first time since graduating to the professional ranks, Cheika finds himself an onlooker at Super Rugby time, having left the Waratahs coaching gig, and is focused on individuals rather than teams.
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“I suppose for me more particularly, it’s just looking at individual player form and trying to get my head around who are going to be the best combinations to pick, “he said.
“Who’s’ playing well, who are the players to give opportunities to that I think will add something to the team and also prepare for what i think in that first week we come together at the end of May …how the training should look.
“(It’ll be about) where they’re at, where the lads are at physically and we’re not going to change too much about the way we play, it’s not going to be a whole heap different.”