Cheika banks on Wallaby upset against New Zealand: 'You never know what's going to happen'

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  • Pumas coach Michael Cheika hopes for a Wallaby win when they face the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday.
  • That Rugby Championship game will be followed up by the Springboks and the Pumas at Kings Park.
  • Australia hasn't won in Auckland since 1986, but Cheika said anything is possible.



In Durban

Argentina coach Michael Cheika hopes that Australia can spring a surprise on the All Blacks when they meet in the early morning Rugby Championship game ahead of the Bok/Pumas clash in Durban.

New Zealand has been far from convincing in 2022, with losses against Ireland (twice), Argentina, and the Springboks highlighting that.

Australia need to snap a 36-year Eden Park hoodoo if they're to win, but as rugby events this year has shown, it's far from impossible.

READ | Lood v Lavanini: Bok-baby faced assassin respects Pumas' physical yellow-card magnet

Last week, Australia fought back from 31-13 down to lead 37-34 with two minutes left before an epic and unforgettable brain-fade from Bernard Foley opened a door the All Blacks brutally kicked down to win 39-37 in Melbourne.

Cheika has tasted success against New Zealand in New Zealand as Argentina coach while it eluded him with  Australia, with the former Waratahs and Wallabies mentor saying anything is possible.

"Tipping is for mugs and everybody wants to know what is going to happen," Cheika cheekily said.

"You're better off watching the game and enjoying it for what it is. As an Australian, I hope Australia wins.

"I think they've got a good chance and the good thing about those games is that you never know what's going to happen.

"However, I don't really have that many thoughts about that game. I'm focusing on what's happening here."

Teams

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse

Argentina

15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Bautista Delguy

Cheika may have had a fair bit of success against South African teams in Super Rugby, but it eluded him with the Wallabies in the republic.

It also eluded him last week when they fought back from 22-6 down to be close at 22-20 before the Boks galloped away with the game 36-20.

READ | Frans Steyn at 10, 14 years on: Bobo reminisces, gives Bok pivot thumbs up for Pumas Test

Cheika gave the Boks the respect they deserved as world champions, but also said they need to focus on what works for them.

"They play good footy, they're highly ranked in the world rugby rankings, and they've got star players everywhere," Cheika said.

"It's about not always playing the scoreboard but doing our best to win the next action and see where it lands from there.

"When you come to game time, you don't think, you just act and, in this situation, good actions will help keep the foot on the throat."

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