Motivator Cheika will be an 'asset' against Wallabies - Hanigan

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, now with Argentina, celebrates with Juan Imhoff of the Pumas after winning the Tri-Nations rugby match against the New Zealand All Blacks at Bankwest Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Sydney
Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, now with Argentina, celebrates with Juan Imhoff of the Pumas after winning the Tri-Nations rugby match against the New Zealand All Blacks at Bankwest Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Sydney
Image: Mark Kolbe / Getty Images

Former Australia coach Michael Cheika will give Argentina a "leg up" against the hosts in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash in Newcastle when coaching from the Pumas' box, Wallabies lock Ned Hanigan said on Tuesday.

Cheika, who said in May he could never coach against Australia, took a consultancy role with the Pumas in September and helped guide Mario Ledesma's side to their breakthrough 25-15 win over the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday.

"Having Cheika in a team, he's got that sort of motivating aspect about him and he obviously knows Australian rugby really well," Hanigan told reporters on a video call on Tuesday.

"So he'll definitely be an asset to them in a game like we've got on the weekend in Newcastle."

With Ledesma as his scrum coach, Cheika guided the Wallabies to the final of the 2015 World Cup but quit after the team crashed out of the quarter-finals in Japan last year, Australia's equal-worst performance at the global tournament.

Pumas captain Pablo Matera praised Cheika after the All Blacks match for helping the team believe they could topple the New Zealanders for the first time in 30 Tests.

Hanigan, who was handed his first Test cap by Cheika in 2017, said he could see some of his former boss's "DNA" in Argentina's play.

"He's obviously got plenty of expertise. He's coached plenty of the players in the (Australia) side," he added.

"He'll be a bit of a leg up to Argentina this week, I reckon ... He just likes winning."

With the Tri-Nations silverware still up for grabs, Australia face Argentina two weeks after beating the All Blacks' 24-22 in Brisbane, their first win under new coach Dave Rennie.

Hanigan could not see Argentina struggling for motivation against Australia after the huge emotional high of beating the All Blacks.

"I think (the momentum) just keeps adding. That on-field energy - you keep building," he said.

- Reuters

 

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