Cheika expects ‘thunderous’ backlash from England

Michael Cheika will coach the Wallabies at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Australia coach Michael Cheika has warned his Wallaby team to expect a ‘thunderous’ England backlash at Twickenham after their loss to Wales last weekend.

Cheika has led the Wallabies to a Rugby Championship title since he took over last year in October and given the scrum special attention with help from former Argentina prop Mario Ledesma.

The 48-year-old Wallabies coach Cheika has told his players to brace themselves for a furious response from the under-fire Red Rose brigade after their loss to Wales last week.

“When the thunder starts at Twickenham you have got to be ready for it,” said Cheika, who guided the Wallabies to a superb win over reigning world champions New Zealand to clinch this year’s southern hemisphere Rugby Championship title.

“They have been very successful at that ground so we have to be ready to be ourselves and play the best we possibly can and let the cards fall where they do.”

Cheika, the only coach to have won both a European Cup and a Super Rugby title — the former with Irish province Leinster and the latter with the New South Wales Waratahs — said rugby teams had the capacity to regroup, even in the space of just seven days.

“Every team has the ability to bounce back,” said Cheika.

“That’s the joy of rugby. You lose one week and come back out and play the next.

“We’re more than aware of that because we’ve been in the same position, maybe not in a World Cup, but I’m sure they (England) will believe strongly that they can beat us.

“I suppose that’s all that counts.”

Indeed Cheika was keen to cast Australia as the underdogs in the contest, despite the turmoil in the England camp since the Wales result cast doubt on their long-term future in the tournament.

A Wales win over Fiji on Thursday and an Australian win on Saturday would end England’s World Cup involvement before the quarter-finals.

“We’re playing in the opposition’s back yard,” said Cheika as he insisted home advantage would aid England.

As for being potentially responsible for England playing no further role in the World Cup, Cheika remained unmoved.

“Mate, that’s not my domain, sorry. I’m not a tournament organiser, I’m not involved with England,” said Cheika.

“I’m just a simple old coach of the Australian team and I know what has impact on us and what doesn’t.

“I’m not trying to avoid the question, I just don’t know. It’s been a great tournament so far — 90,000 people at Ireland v Romania.

“It shows how popular rugby is over here in Europe and that’s great for our sport. We had nearly 70,000 against Fiji and then 40,000 against Uruguay.”

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