Sport International Rugby

Sunday 23 October 2016

'It's easy to kick blokes when they're down' - Michael Cheika hits back at 'shallow' Steve Hansen

Duncan Bech

Published 21/06/2016 | 08:44

Steve Hansen has accused Michael Cheika of allowing himself to be bullied
Steve Hansen has accused Michael Cheika of allowing himself to be bullied

Australia coach Michael Cheika is confused by Steven Hansen's claim that he allowed himself to be bullied by Eddie Jones during the Wallabies' series defeat.

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England have established an unassailable 2-0 lead with the final Test to be played in Sydney on Saturday and Hansen, the New Zealand head coach, remarked that Cheika's refusal to respond to Jones' mind games had an impact on his team's performance.

"I'd be pretty nonplussed about that. I think that's a really shallow sort of view on what's really involved in coaching and he knows better than that," Cheika said.

"It's easy to kick blokes when they are down, so we are down, but we'll be getting back up, don't worry about that."

Hansen was withering in his assessment of Cheika's refusal to engage his former Randwick team-mate Jones through the media.

"Cheika's not come back, he's letting Eddie have a free rein - to the point where it actually seems like he's letting Eddie bully him in the media," Hansen said.

"I don't know if that's because they know each other that well, or if there's a pecking order from the old days. That's gone on to the park, hasn't it?"

Cheika, however, insists he would have fired shots in the phoney war had he deemed it to be of benefit.

"If I thought it would have made us play better, yeah I would have got into it," Cheika said.

"It's nice to circle around that idea and go 'yeah that makes a difference', but anyone who knows the game will understand it has no bearing whatsoever on the end results.

"I probably haven't been the most popular character all my life, so I wasn't used to people liking me anyway.

"If they are not big on the way I've taken on the media campaign then that's their problem. I've done what I think is best for the team and I still believe it's the best for the team."

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