Argentina head coach Michael Cheika says it was “confusing” for him when his team claimed a record 48-17 win over his country of birth, Australia, but is committed to bringing success to the Pumas.
Los Pumas have shown incredible growth since the Australian took over, and the dominant performance against the Wallabies embodied that.
Cheika admitted to feeling conflicted when his team scored their final try of the game, particularly having previously coached the Wallabies.
“I was up on the last try, cheering. But then I started crying, because I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this. It was a bit confusing for me, personally,” Cheika told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Although Cheika is an Australian through and through, he is more committed to his job with Argentina than ever and is determined to bring success to Los Pumas.
“They’re my boys now. That’s my team,” Cheika said.
“I will do everything I can to help them get success and enjoy rugby. They are paying me a lot of respect here and people are believing in the things that we are doing. I have to do everything I can to help them.”
Cheika wanted his team to reset and make some tweaks in their defence at half-time to close out the game better than they did in Round One, where Argentina threw away their lead after the break.
“We definitely needed to address a few things in our defence … and we just wanted to focus on things we could do in the second half. You have to focus on the situation ahead of you, not the past, whether it be the first half or four years ago,” Cheika said.
The next challenge
The tactician is looking forward to travelling to New Zealand for two away games against the All Blacks, who come off a positive win against the Springboks.
“I love going to New Zealand to play. There is a thing about rugby over there that is special and there is nothing like being a part of it,” Cheika said.
“It is going to be good going to Australia and having a few days off, and seeing my mum and my brothers and sisters and take the boys for a Leb feed at my mum’s place. But I am looking forward to going to New Zealand because it is a great place to go and play rugby.”