Julian Savea runs in for an All Blacks try against the Wallabies during their Bledisloe Cup clash at Eden Park.
Julian Savea runs in for an All Blacks try against the Wallabies during their Bledisloe Cup clash at Eden Park. Phil Walter

Cheika stands by post-match barbs

RUGBY UNION: The cold hard light of day has failed to quell the frosty relationship between the Wallabies and the All Blacks.

After arriving back in the country following his side's latest Bledisloe Cup failure, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was standing by his controversial post-match comments.

After the 37-10 defeat at Eden Park, Cheika had suggested the host nation didn't respect his team and had worked with the New Zealand Herald to portray him as a clown before the match.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen then returned fire, accusing his counterpart of "hijacking” the game's aftermath, which centred around Hansen's side claiming a record-equalling 18th successive win.

"They asked me to make a comment about their achievement and I said I didn't think they'd care about my comment, which I think is the truth,” Cheika told reporters yesterday. "I think that's the honest thing to say.

"I could go on with all that politically correct stuff ... I acknowledge that they're far superior to all other teams at the moment, there's not an issue there, but I don't think they'd want my comment there.

"I made that point, no one was hijacking anything.”

Cheika said he was not concerned with how he was perceived by the All Blacks camp.

"I don't think that it's a popularity contest ... I've been disliked by plenty of people before, that's not an issue,” he said.

"I think my role in principle is to make the team improve and play better, all the things we're trying to do now.

"The other things are distractions but they're there and if I'm asked about them, I'm not going to not talk about them, I'm going to say the truth.

"Why would you let the opposition call your team clowns and mock the jersey?

"I never had an Australian jersey so I think it's something that should be treasured.”

After naming his touring squad for the northern hemisphere tour, Hansen said Cheika was "obviously feeling the pressure and had a bit of a meltdown”.

"The best thing he can do is just stop whining,” he said. "If he doesn't think people are respecting him then (he should) ask (himself) 'why would the media dress me up as a clown?' and then go and fix those problems.

"He's a good man and he's under pressure, so we've just go to leave it at that.”

Cheika was furious at the performance of the match officials, leaving his seat at one stage when Henry Speight's try was disallowed.

Adding salt to the wounds was Dean Mumm being cited for striking Brodie Retallick with an elbow in the second half.

The Wallabies will now be sweating on the availability of outside centre Samu Kerevi, who will be sent for scans following an ankle injury.

The squad for Wallabies' spring tour will be announced tomorrow.


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