The Wallabies were greeted with applause and cheers by enthusiastic fans as Michael Cheika’s World Cup finalists touched down at Sydney Airport on Wednesday.
Australia lost the final 34-17 to the All Blacks in the final at Twickenham, but won plenty of praise and admiration for getting out of the group of death before falling short against the champion All Blacks.
But Cheika warned his team must improve rather than hope for New Zealand – set to lose some of their greatest players to retirement – to drop their standards if they are to overhaul their trans-Tasman rivals and reach the summit of world rugby.
“Our goal is to improve, not to be waiting for other teams to go worse because of this or that reason,” Cheika said on arrival.
“I don’t think they (New Zealand) will (get worse), they’ve got so much depth over there.
“I think they will only improve as well.”
Cheika said beating England in a three-Test home series would be his next objective rather than look to break the 13-year Bledisloe Cup drought against New Zealand.
He was non-committal about whether he would look to complete a full four-year term after having been named world rugby’s Coach of the Year after just 12 months in the job.
“I’m in to 2017 and for me it’s irrelevant whether I’m on to 2019 or 2017, or 2016, I want to do the best so the team is in the right position to keep getting better in the future,” Cheika said.
Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver said Cheika had done a remarkable job but there was no urgency to extend his contract given he was already locked in for the next two years.