Michael Cheika talks to players during an Australian Wallabies training session.
Michael Cheika talks to players during an Australian Wallabies training session.

Cheika feels fans’ Blediswoe pain

BESIEGED Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes many fans calling for his head never wanted him to get the job, but says he is hurting more than anyone after seeing his children in tears after last Saturday's loss to the All Blacks.

Numerous Australian rugby supporters have called for the sacking of Cheika, who took charge of the team in 2014, got them to the World Cup final the next year, but has had a string of poor results since.

"A lot of fans probably didn't want me to get the job in the first place," Cheika told Australian reporters on Waiheke Island on Tuesday.

"When the announcement came through there would have been a lot of people that said they should give it to someone else

"You want to do your best to have everyone on board obviously and it's never going to happen so I understand that.

"It's about context. I'm not being the coach for my ego - I want Australia to win more than anything.

"If someone says that to me it doesn't hurt my ego

"It hurts me that we're not winning and that I'm not making that happy but I'm certainly not doing it for ego."

Cheika said it's fair for people to criticise himself and the team after the 38-13 drubbing last Saturday at ANZ Stadium, with the Wallabies needing to break a 32-year hoodoo at Eden Park this weekend to keep the Bledisloe series alive.

"I think it's fair for people to have a negative response, we got beat, they wanted us to win, there's nothing wrong with that," Cheika said.

"When my team loses, I want them to win, I'm negative as well. But then I go 'Come on Bunnies', or whatever team it is.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says losing hurts far more than criticism. Picture: Getty Images
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says losing hurts far more than criticism. Picture: Getty Images

"I'll tell you now, there's no one hurting more than me than when I walk down the tunnel and I see my two kids there crying.

"So it is built on emotion, there's emotions for us as well. But we've got to try to keep it clear with what we're doing.

"For me, I feel no matter who is throwing rocks, I'm in a good place because I'm always the hardest critic on myself.

"Whatever he could have said to me, I've said it to myself already, and recovered from it and feel stronger for it to go back and turn the negative into a positive - call me crazy.

"There's those who can hold their nerve and those who can't, and I'd like to think I'm someone who can hold my nerve in these situations, keep the team confident, and believe we can go out there this weekend and win.

"I know that you guys (reporters) don't think that, but I think we can."

Asked by The Daily Telegraph how he can turn this team around to win the Bledisloe and next year's World Cup, Cheika replied: "There's no solution that I can say to you that says 'Do one, two three and we'll win'. It's a continual work-on.

"What were you saying before the last World Cup? You would have had your doubts then as well, you just don't know.

"I've always had a plan about what I want to do. Sometimes you get bumps that take you a different course, you lose players, different things happen along the way and you've got to be able to adjust to that.

"But when you know exactly where you're headed, it makes it a little easier to deal with those things because you can stay on track.

"We've had to take a lot of bullets across this time of building a bit more depth.

"I think we are getting that now.

"More focus, more concentration, deliver on the nights, and go from there.

"You weren't saying this in October of last year. And I'm not saying we don't merit that type of response, I'm certainly not thinking we don't merit a negative response - of course we do.

"But you've always got to understand that consistency of performance is built over a period of time with experience, and that's what we're building to.

"If you are looking for an answer; it's about playing at our best for more consistent periods."