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Wallabies refusing to buy into Cheika chat

Tue, 02/08/2022, 6:41 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies and England faced off in the decider at the SCG.

The Wallabies are refusing to focus on a Michael Cheika reunion as they prepare for the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina.

The August 7 clash in Mendoza will be the first time the former Wallabies boss will match up against his successor since taking over the Pumas job.

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Since then, Argentina have built confidence with a 2-1 series victory over Scotland.

Whilst the reunion is a natural talking point, the Wallabies have undergone a significant squad overhaul since Cheika's last match at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and were keeping their focus solely on the job at hand.

"No, we don't talk about it," winger Tom Wright told reporters on Tuesday.

"I certainly wasn't here when (Cheika was coach) or involved in camp. So for me personally, I don't necessarily know any of the backstory mentioned there that (media) continually remind everyone of.

"If we're too busy worrying about the opposition coach we've probably got our head in the wrong space preparation-wise."

Backrower Pete Samu is one of the few left from the Cheika-era, handed his debut in 2018 against Ireland after the former Waratahs coach convinced him to return to Australian Rugby.

However, the pair reportedly had a falling out in the following year after Samu’s decision to attend a family wedding in early 2019 instead of a Wallabies training camp.

The Brumby was called straight back into the side for the first Test under Rennie in 2020, carving out a significant role in his side as the key finisher.

“It’s all behind me now,” Samu said on the incident. “I’m just grateful to be back in the set-up.

“Whatever happened in the past is in the past, I’ll still never know what happened there but yeah.”

Samu and the Wallabies were preparing for a vocal Mendoza crowd, the first time they will have played in South America in nearly five years.

“Argentina is a very passionate side and their fans get behind the team and I think that’s where they draw a lot of their energy from,” Samu added.

“We probably haven’t experienced that in a while so it’ll be pretty exciting to be out there this weekend and take the crowd in as energy-wise.”

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