Cheika laughs off bizarre NZ press sledge

Michael Cheika has laughed off suggestions from the New Zealand press that the Wallabies have spent the week training in Christchurch because they are scared of Dunedin.

Australia are the longest odds they’ve ever been for Saturday night’s second Bledisloe Cup Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, which they must win to keep the series alive.

But that hasn’t stopped local media, who last year likened Cheika to a clown and inferred he planted a bug at New Zealand’s team hotel, from taking more pot-shots at the Wallabies over peculiar issues.

The Press newspaper suggested Cheika had “missed a trick” by not getting to Dunedin earlier so the team could “generate goodwill” with locals and help promote the game.

It also claimed the Australian side was staying at a golf resort on the outskirts of Christchurch when they are actually staying at a hotel in the city centre.

In reality, many touring teams spend the first half of the week in Christchurch or Queenstown before moving operations to Dunedin, which the Wallabies will do on Thursday afternoon.

Australia rarely spends a full Bledisloe Cup week in New Zealand anyway, and it’s understood hotel and training venue availability was the reason they opted for Christchurch.

“I don’t know, what’s the problem?” Cheika said when asked about the matter on Thursday.

“We’ve come to New Zealand to soak it up for a week, it’s a two leg journey from Australia to come here.

“We’ve had a good preparation, it breaks that travel up.

“I don’t see any drama.

“We’ll be there this afternoon so I’m sure that if anyone wants to give us some atmosphere, they’ll come by the hotel and let us know.”

Told that All Blacks players had been saying to media that the Wallabies were potentially scared of supporters in Dunedin, Cheika said: “If the New Zealand players think we’re scared of them, that’s going to be their take on it, isn’t it?”

“When you’re confident like that and you’ve got that attitude towards your opposition, then so be it.”

The Wallabies have a poor record in Dunedin, where they have won only one of their 12 Test matches.

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