The Wallabies are wary of former coach Michael Cheika’s influence over an Argentina side high on confidence and belief after their shock Tri-Nations disposal of the All Blacks.
Having guided the Wallabies from 2014 until last year, Cheika is now part of a Pumas coaching staff headed by Australia’s former forwards coach Mario Ledesma.
Cheika’s motivational skills played a big role in inspiring Argentina to their 25-15 weekend win over New Zealand at Bankwest Stadium.
The Pumas’ first win over the All Blacks in 30 attempts has added some much-needed spice to the Tri-Nations tournament and has put the Wallabies on high alert ahead of their clash with Argentina on Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium.
“Having ‘Cheik’ in their team, he’s got that motivating aspect about him and he obviously knows Australian rugby really well, so he’ll definitely be an asset to them in a game like we’ve got on the weekend in Newcastle,” Wallabies flanker Ned Hanigan said.
“He’s got plenty of expertise in the motivating factor and getting blokes on the job.
“He’s coached plenty of players in the (Australian) side. He’ll be a bit of a leg-up to Argentina this weekend I reckon.”
Thanks @lospumas 🤝#NZLvARG pic.twitter.com/aw91NQt8bE
When asked if Cheika would prefer a win over Australia to Argentina’s victory over the All Blacks, Hanigan said his former coach “just loves winning”.
“If anyone says you get a win in a Test match, you’re taking that,” he said.
“He just hates losing. He just loves winning, `Cheik’, so he’d take them both.”
As would Ledesma, who was highly emotional after his side’s 10-point win over New Zealand.
“You saw the reaction after the game, the jubilation, they were crying and just so incredibly proud representing their country,” Hanigan said.
“They’re a classy outfit … and across the board they just bring that passion, and you could see it on the weekend.”
Argentina’s unexpected success has placed Wallabies’ Tri-Nations destiny in their own hands.
A win over the Pumas on Saturday and victory over the same opposition at Bankwest Stadium on December 5 will guarantee Australia claims the tournament.
“A bit of silverware’s always nice. The result on the weekend has given us the opportunity. We’ve got to win two games,” Hanigan said.
“But the big thing for us is building a bit of consistency.
“We had a good game in Brisbane (beating the All Blacks 24-22). If we get two good performances that are consistent with what we need to do, the silverware’s just the cherry on top.”
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