SYDNEY- Waliabies coach Michael Cheika believes Australian players are fighting a perception that they are a “soft touch” and need to up their levels of aggression to fix it.
During this Super Rugby season where New Zealand teams have had a 29-match winning streak against Australian opponents in heading into the weekend, there seems to be a lot of soul-searching about what needs to change on the western shores of the Tasman Sea.
Suggestions made in the Australian media was to make their players more crafty when they around match officials as their counterparts the Kiwis are.
This theory was fueled by the lack of on-field punishment for All Blacks prop Joe Moody for striking Kurtley Beale in the head when the Crusaders came from 29 points down to beat the Waratahs last weekend.
Cheika said on Fox Sports Australia, “Maybe there’s a bit of perception that we’re a soft touch,”
“We’ve just got to fire up in games. It doesn’t matter about whether we’ve been hard done by or not, that’s the attitude we’ve got to have in all games.
“We’ve got to get fired up and get into it, not through any foul play but through aggression.”
“The Kiwi teams … good on them, if that’s their thing, good on them, get into it,” he added. “We’ve got to have our own way of eliminating that perception that we’re a soft touch so we won’t get those penalties against us or those things won’t happen.”
Moody was banned for two weeks, although he escaped on-field punishment for his assault on Beale, he almost immediately scored a try, the Crusaders battled back to win 31-29 in Christchurch.
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