Sydney - Coach Michael Cheika fired up the
war of words with his New Zealand counterpart Steve Hansen on Monday, saying
the All Blacks rate the Wallabies as having no chance of winning this weekend's
Rugby Championship opener.
The Wallabies are the defending Rugby
Championship title holders but have won just one of their last 13 encounters
with the world champions.
On arrival in Sydney at the weekend, Hansen
was told Cheika had suggested he faced some interesting All Blacks selection
decisions and responded by saying the Wallabies coach had enough problems of
his own to worry about.
Cheika hit back on Monday as the tensions
began to rise ahead of Saturday's Test in Sydney, which also doubles as a
Bledisloe Cup match.
"I don't know what he's upset
about," Cheika told reporters.
"It's up to him. For us, I think we
know how we're thought of.
"We know they think we're no chance to
do anything and they're validated, I suppose, we haven't beaten them for ages
in the series so it's understandable that they would think that."
The Wallabies have a 13-year Bledisloe Cup
drought and New Zealand's rugby ascendancy remains a thorn in Australia's side.
"We've been working hard for a few
weeks to get ourselves together," Cheika said.
"We'll just get our stuff together and
do our absolute best when we get out there on Saturday night."
The Wallabies are coming into the Rugby
Championship on the back of a 3-0 home series loss to England, while the All
Blacks won all three Tests of their home series against Wales in June.
Cheika said he had worked on building
belief among the Wallabies, but the All Blacks provided the ultimate test for
"We've come off the back of a fair few
years of indifferent performances," Cheika said.
"Over the last 18 months we've been
trying to build it (belief) in not just the guys who are starting, but in the bigger
group of players.
"When you are doing that you will come
up against resistance sometimes or things that may not go right, but that
doesn't mean you stop, you've got to push through it.
"You need mental fortitude and there's
no better place to test mental fortitude than against New Zealand."
South Africa face Argentina in the other opening round match of the Rugby Championship in Nelspruit on Saturday.