Australia coach Michael Cheika says New Zealand doesn’t rate his team as they prepare to meet in the first game of the 2016 Rugby Championship on Saturday.
The war of words between Cheika and his New Zealand counterpart, Steve Hansen, continued in the buil-up to the first Bledisloe Cup encounter of the year, with Cheika accusing All Blacks coach Steve Hansen of trying to spice up the contest.
Cheika, who is under considerable pressure after losing the June series against England 3-0, believes the message from the New Zealand camp is that they don’t rate his team.
Cheika started the exchange after commenting on Hansen’s tough selection issues. Hansen hit back, saying Cheika had enough problems of his own when picking his team for the Test.
“I don’t know what he’s upset about but that’s up to him,” Cheika said. “We know how we’re thought of. We know that they [New Zealand] think we’re no chance to do anything. It’s validated – we haven’t beaten them for ages in the series, so it’s understandable they would think that. We’ll just get our stuff together and do our absolute best when we get out there on Saturday night.
“When you say spice I’m not sure if there’s anything from our end in regards to that. They’re thinking we’re the ones that have something to prove so just let it run with what he said. I’m not really sure what to say to be honest.
“That’s what they really think; our problem is that we’ve got nothing and we’re going up against the world No. 1 [team]. I understand what he’s saying. I know that not many people are expecting us – as he isn’t – to do much with that but we’ll prepare our best this week and see how we go.”