Wallabies wary of Michael Cheika threat

Date published: November 17 2020

Australia back five forward Ned Hanigan believes that Argentina will have an advantage in the shape of former Wallaby head coach Michael Cheika.

The 53-year-old led Australia to the 2015 World Cup final but left his role after their disappointing 2019 campaign in Japan.

He has since taken a position within Los Pumas’ backroom team and his influence has already been noticed with the South American outfit claiming an impressive scalp on Saturday.

They defeated three-time world champions New Zealand for the first time ever, emerging 25-15 victorious in Sydney, and Mario Ledesma’s men will look to make it successive triumphs this weekend.

Inside track

Cheika has the inside track on Australian rugby and knows the current squad well having coached most of them, and Hanigan admits that his former boss’ knowledge will help Argentina.

“Having Cheik in the team, he has that motivating aspect and knows Australian rugby very well so he’ll definitely be an asset [on Saturday],” he told reporters.

“He’s obviously got plenty of expertise. He’s coached plenty of the players in the [Australia] side. He’ll be a bit of a leg up to Argentina this week, I reckon…he just likes winning.”

Argentina’s performance on Saturday was built on defence and intensity as they forced the All Blacks into a number of errors.

That allowed them to get on the front foot, providing fly-half Nicolas Sanchez with the opportunities to build the score from the tee, and Hanigan says that the Wallabies need to be mistake-free on Saturday.

“The passion and pride they’ve got in the jersey; you could see the reaction after the game,” he added.

“That on-field energy you keep building with the bloke next to him, the key is for us to not give them the opportunities to get those sort of moments.

“In past games we’ve probably thrown the willy-nilly [pass] out the back, that sort of stuff just lets the momentum keep building in the opposition’s favour.”