Michael Cheika says Australian rugby players need to be more mentally resilient

by admin on July 13th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Mentally tough: Michael Cheika. Photo: Getty Images Australian Super Rugby players need to learn how to be more mentally resilient if they are going to beat the New Zealand sides in future, says Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
Nanjing Night Net

In the wake of the Brumbies being bundled out of the Super Rugby finals by the Highlanders – meaning there are now no Australian teams in the semi-finals – the microscope is once again on the health of rugby in this country.

Australian teams tasted victory just three times this Super Rugby season in 26 games against New Zealand opposition, and with the first Bledisloe Cup game less than a month away, expectations are understandably far from sky-high.

Speaking on the ABC’s Offsiders program on Sunday, Cheika labelled 2016 a “poor season” for Australian franchises but did his best to explain the reason for the below-par showings, saying local players needed to overcome mental hurdles more than make up a perceived gap in skill level.

“I’m a big believer that one of the big progressions for us here is more around our mental skills,” Cheika said. “Yes, our footy skills are important but we’ve shown that we have football skills. It’s about bringing those really good rugby skills out every day, every week when we play in the spotlight of the game when the crowd’s there and not having the fear of failure. Being really free to play the game that you know how to play and just enjoying that and not worrying too much about the result, because it will come. A big area that all our teams need to grow in is in that mental resilience. It’s not always going to go well for you, so wear that and bounce back the next week.”

While there will be ongoing debate about how much can be read into Super Rugby form when the international Test season properly kicks off at the end of August for the Wallabies, Cheika knows Australia will go in as big underdogs.

Belief, however, is the only thing Cheika is trying to cook up now, even if most of it might only be coming from within the Wallabies camp at the moment.

“It’s not about trying to fool everyone into thinking, ‘oh, we’re going to do it’, it’s about doing it,” Cheika said. “We were able to sneak one last year and I know that there’s probably not a belief … and that’s quite warranted because we haven’t won the Bledisloe in 10 or something years. Where belief starts is right here; in me first and then my captain and then the team and that spreads. On that night you have to be better than your opponent.”

The recent whitewash at the hands of England is another reason why the series is so important for Cheika, because if Australia go down in straight sets to the All Blacks in Sydney and then Wellington, they will have started 2016 off with five losses to go with the defeat in last year’s World Cup final.

Cheika says he feels a deep-seated responsibility to the Australian public to bring back the Bledisloe for the first time since 2002.

“We need to win the Bledisloe Cup so people can feel happy about that and feel good about themselves,” Cheika said. “What I’ve realised is that when the country wakes up the next morning you’re pretty much deciding how they’re feeling. In my own house it’s my own kids, dressed in their gold jerseys, and that’s going to be reflected in many households across the country.

“We just have to focus on the first game in Sydney so we can make sure that we’re doing our supporters proud.” 

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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