Some of the decisions in the clash against Wales left the Wallabies perplexed.
Some of the decisions in the clash against Wales left the Wallabies perplexed.

We aren’t whingers: Wallabies put Wales loss to bed

SKIPPER Michael Hooper is adamant the Wallabies aren't playing the victims of injustice at the Rugby World Cup and the dressing room is the positive, success-hungry bastion it should be.

Former Wallabies boss Robbie Deans, in an online column, is the latest to hint that coach Michael Cheika challenging the stance of referees and administrators in Japan can have an adverse trickle-down effect on his team's mindset.

Anyone who has been around the five years of Cheika's reign will know he is reacting no differently with his up-front takes on ref calls that the rugby world at large see as lineball.

Cheika's forthright opinion that it was "embarrassing" to see a penalty against centre Samu Kerevi for a full-bodied, jolting run, that caught a Welsh defender a little high, was one shared by a majority in the game.

Hooper and his players know that is Cheika's DNA, just like his challenge on the Reece Hodge tackle that earned a suspension, so they would hardly be rattled by him voicing opinions as normal.

Was Cheika playing up the siege mentality deliberately to bring out the best in his team which faces Uruguay in humid heat under a roof in Oita on Saturday afternoon?

"We haven't taken that tack at all," Hooper said.

"There's been a lot of stuff said but we can't control that nor think about it.

 

Some of the Wallabies players in their Indigenous jumpers.
Some of the Wallabies players in their Indigenous jumpers.

"You've got to narrow the focus, particularly after a loss, and have a critical mindset on what is important."

Decisive direction from flyhalf Christian Lealiifano is a must. Eight of the Wallabies' nine tries at the tournament have been generated off lineouts so the forwards have definitely stepped up to fix last year's spluttering ball source.

Hooper politely challenged anyone guessing at what was being said inside the Wallabies' dressing room because whinging wasn't a part of it.

"There's a lot said in the news but it's not stuff that's echoed in our team room, in our changing room," Hooper said.

"I probably would agree with that (Deans' comment) but you'd have to know what's said behind closed doors to actually know what we're talking about."

 

Michael Hooper says the Wallabies are totally focused on facing Uruguay.
Michael Hooper says the Wallabies are totally focused on facing Uruguay.

Hooper's animation after the 29-25 loss to Wales was all about how much it meant.

"I really wanted to win that game so yeah, to get back to one point behind, I was frustrated," he said.

"I've moved on totally, I'm ready for the next game, it's going to be great, arvo footy...bring it on."

The Wallabies gave a proud preview of the indigenous jersey they will wear in this game at the official team photo before the captain's run on Friday.

"As a proud indigenous Australian I'm very excited to be wearing the indigenous playing strip," Beale said.

 

Michael Cheika had plenty to say after the Wales defeat.
Michael Cheika had plenty to say after the Wales defeat.

"We've got all the buy-in from the players and staff and as a country it's a true representation and acknowledgement to the First Nations people.

"It's going to be a special for all involved and I can't wait."

Now 30 and with 89 Tests behind him, Beale has consciously taken on a bigger leadership role around the young backs in the squad, including debutant Jordan Petaia.

"I think he's special talent," Beale said.

"As a teammate you can see that at training through glimpses here and there and as a team we're excited for his debut."



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