Rugby World Cup 2015

Cheika scorns talk of easy draw

Australia displayed determination and strength in the scrums in the tense 15-6 victory against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday. Although reduced to 13 men when Will Genia and Dean Mumm received yellow cards within four minutes of each other, the Wall
Australia displayed determination and strength in the scrums in the tense 15-6 victory against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday. Although reduced to 13 men when Will Genia and Dean Mumm received yellow cards within four minutes of each other, the Wallabies held firm to repel Wales repeatedly.PHOTO: REUTERS

Australia coach pays tribute to his defenders but says Scotland are not a q-final pushover

TWICKENHAM • Australia coach Michael Cheika dismissed suggestions his side have an easier draw after winning through to a World Cup quarter-final against Scotland.

The Wallabies' 15-6 victory over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday ensured they remained unbeaten at the end of their Pool A games.

Australia now face Scotland, who scraped past Samoa 36-33 on Saturday, rather than South Africa - who, like the Wallabies, are two-time world champions.

Cheika's men, the Southern Hemisphere's reigning Rugby Championship title holders, will be huge favourites when they return to Twickenham to face Scotland on Oct 18.

The Scots have won two of their last three Tests against the Wallabies. They were, however, beaten 21-15 when the teams last met at Murrayfield two years ago.

NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY

I know people like to comment based on rankings but there's no favourable side of the draw, the only favour is that you're in it. You can't get away with a bad game.

MICHAEL CHEIKA, Australia coach

Cheika also demanded respect for a Scotland side coached by New Zealander Vern Cotter, who had success in charge of French club Clermont.

"What I do know is that Vern Cotter is a very clever coach. He had a very successful time in France, which is difficult for an Anglo-Saxon," said Cheika, who was sacked by French professional side Stade Francais in 2012 after two years in charge of the Paris club.

"I'm sure he will have them ready for the knock-out games."

Looking to the future, Cheika stuck to his one-game-at-a-time mantra.

"I know people like to comment based on rankings but there's no favourable side of the draw, the only favour is that you're in it. You can't get away with a bad game."

HAILING THE VICTORS' COURAGE

It was courageous defence by Australia. We got over the line three times but were held up. It was fine margins.

WARREN GATLAND, Wales coach

Australia had anything but a bad game on Saturday. They put on one of the greatest defensive performances in World Cup history to record their 11th straight Test win against Wales.

The match was effectively decided during a remarkable spell in the second half when, despite being down to 13 men after two yellow cards, Australia repelled everything Wales threw at them to protect a six-point lead.

"They say that behind every man is a good woman. Well, behind every good attack is a good defence," Cheika said.

There were no tries in the match, with Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley kicking five penalties to two from Welsh No. 10 Dan Biggar.

The first quarter was an arm-wrestle between two equally-matched packs as Australia, so long the world's whipping boys at scrum time, were full of confidence after their demolition job on England.

Just before the break, Biggar missed a penalty, his first failure in 16 attempts in the tournament, to leave the Wallabies 9-6 ahead.

Foley stretched it to 12-6 soon after. But the momentum appeared to swing back as Australia scrumhalf Will Genia and lock Dean Mumm were sin-binned within four minutes and key flanker David Pocock was forced off with an injury around the hour mark.

Despite relentless Welsh pressure on the line - including two squandered penalties in front of the posts - and wave after wave of crash-ball charges, Australia repelled every assault and three times held the ball up when Wales did cross the line.

"It was courageous defence by Australia," Wales coach Warren Gatland said.

"We got over the line three times but were held up. It was fine margins." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2015, with the headline 'Cheika scorns talk of easy draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe