‘It’s very obvious that New Zealand are the best team’ Australia rugby coach Michael Cheika concedes

Australia will take on the All Blacks in a title-decider for the abridged Rugby Championship in Sydney on August 8 after a dominant 34-9 win over Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday.

Australia coach Michael Cheika gestures during the Rugby Championship 2015 Test match against Argentina at Malvinas Argentinas stadium in Mendoza on July 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO / Andres Larrovere
Powered by automated translation

MELBOURNE // Australia coach Michael Cheika has moved quickly to dampen expectations of a long-awaited upset of New Zealand, saying the world champions are well in front of the chasing pack.

Australia will take on the All Blacks in a title-decider for the abridged Rugby Championship in Sydney on August 8 after a dominant 34-9 win over Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday.

The All Blacks needed a late try from Richie McCaw to prevail 27-20 against South Africa earlier on Saturday, but they will also head into the tournament finale full of confidence after edging the high-quality contest at Ellis Park.

Australia are in contention for their first southern hemisphere silverware in four years, with their last victory over the All Blacks sealing a truncated Tri-Nations competition in the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup.

“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,” Cheika told Australian media in Mendoza.

“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.

“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 we’re ready to make Australian rugby people proud of how we play ... It’s going to be a big challenge because they’re such a good team.”

Australia scored two late tries to inflate the margin in Mendoza and flatter a scrappy performance marked by scrum wobbles, ill-discipline and wayward goal-kicking by fly-half Bernard Foley.

On the positive side, David Pocock played well in his first start at openside flanker in more than two years and the replacement forwards helped shore up the scrum late in the game.

Lock Dean Mumm was impressive off the bench, scoring a try in his first Wallabies match since 2010.

Follow us on Twitter at NatSportUAE