Cheika calls for consistency

Date published: November 16 2014

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Australia coach Michael Cheika said his players need to train harder and more consistently if they are to avoid another poor display.

Australia coach Michael Cheika said his players need to train harder and more consistently if they are to avoid another poor display such as their 29-26 defeat to France.

The Wallabies gave away 18 turnovers in Saturday’s match, which they almost won after a late rally.

But Cheika admitted his side deserved to lose and warned his players to put in more effort during training to avoid similar results in the future.

“The biggest thing for us is about making ourselves consistent,” said the coach.

“We can play well but we have to do it every week and that comes from training well every day, keeping the standard high for yourself.

“That isn’t something that’s going to happen in a few weeks, that’s something we’ve got to keep working at… so that nights like tonight are very rare and not once every three or four matches.”

Australia’s performance was a far cry from their 33-28 victory over Wales in Cardiff a week earlier.

Cheika felt they were fortunate to still be in with a chance near the end, particularly after France produced a dazzling first half with tries from Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Teddy Thomas but only led 17-16 at the break.

“In rugby you can’t have a consistent upward evolution, it’s not exponential,” added Cheika.

“Some days you do well, and some days you don’t. On this day, when the opportunities were there, we didn’t take them at all.”

Cheika blamed losses in concentration for turnovers at crucial times.

“Often we had really good positions to launch attacks from, whether line-outs in their half or even when we took a tap down there we played our way down there and then just turned the ball over.

“We didn’t concentrate in key moments and paid the penalty.

“Any game when a player has a job to do, either he does it well or he doesn’t. The hand goes up and you take the pass and hold onto the ball, or you don’t.”

The coach would not blame any single player or moment for the defeat, however, rather a series of small, but costly, errors.

“It wasn’t one thing that really stood out — the charge down, a couple of line-outs we didn’t work right, a couple of dropped balls in key positions. It was a mix of small, different areas that all accumulated.

“I was actually pretty surprised that we were in with a shout towards the end because the way we played shouldn’t have put us there.”

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