Australian coach Michael Cheika is under no illusion as to who the best team in world rugby is ahead of the Wallabies upcoming Rugby Championship decider in Sydney, labeling defending world champions New Zealand as ‘the best team in the world’ after their come from behind win against South Africa in Johannesburg yesterday.
After back-to-back wins against South Africa and Argentina, the Wallabies sit atop of the Rugby Championship table on nine points leading their Trans-Tasman rivals on points difference, but Cheika still believes that the All Blacks are firm favourites heading into the championship decider in Sydney in a fortnight’s time.
“It’s two games, you look at the competition table after two games, that’s not when it finishes,” said Cheika after Australia’s 34-9 win over Argentina in Mendoza.
“This year it’s a little bit closer, but it’s very obvious that New Zealand are the best team in the world, and I mean by a long way at this stage.”
“To beat South Africa like they did, I think they did it pretty easy in the end.
“They’ve been so consistent over so many years, so just having a couple of wins in The Rugby Championship, you’re not going to guarantee anything.”
Like the Wallabies, Steve Hansen’s All Blacks have also enjoyed wins over Argentina and South Africa and have set up a grandstand finish at ANZ Stadium next weekend where the All Blacks will look to put one hand on a 13th consecutive Bledisloe Cup. Australia prevailed 34-9 winners over Argentina in Mendoza while the All Blacks came from behind to beat South Africa 27-20 in a thriller in Johannesburg, and Cheika has made it clear that he is not getting carried away after two wins.
“We’ve done nothing,” added Cheika. “We’ve played a couple of games, we snuck home in one, stuck at it in this one, we’ll look at the next one when we get back to Sydney.
“We want to really try to keep improving so we can come into some shape over the next period before we go to the World Cup.”
“We’ve got to work really hard over the next couple of weeks, plan well and really make sure that we run out at ANZ Stadium in a couple of weeks’ time ready to make Australian rugby people proud of how we play.”
Australia prevailed 34-9 winners against Argentina in Mendoza in a scoreline that somewhat flattered the visitors after Tevita Kuridrani and Adam Ashley-Cooper tagged on late tries to ensure the bonus point win.
Brumbies winger Joe Tomane opened the scoring in the 16th minute after a scintillating Wallabies counter attack helped the former Rugby League star give the Wallabies the lead. Dean Mumm added a second for the visitors, a barnstorming run down the right wing, before Kuridrani and and Ashley-Cooper wrapped up the game with three minutes to go.
The Wallabies will welcome Wycliff Palu and Henry Speight back into the mix for the decider while Brumbies lock Sam Carter remains doubtful as he continues to recover from knee surgery last month.