As a self-made millionaire thanks to his successes in the fashion business, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika likes to be in control.

He made himself available to the media on Thursday and yesterday as he attempted to shape the narrative before tonight's Bledisloe Cup test against the All Blacks.

Cheika doesn't need the money that his position provides, but is doing it for the love of the game and his pride in Australian rugby. All of which means the losing streak by his team, who have lost all five tests following their World Cup semifinal victory over Argentina and are staring down the barrel of a sixth at Westpac Stadium tonight, plus the sniping from those at home, including former players, will be extremely hard to take for the former bruising No8 from the Randwick club.

The 49-year-old, who won a Super Rugby championship with the Waratahs in 2014 after leading Irish club Leinster to their first Heineken Cup title in 2009, had immediate success last year when he beat the All Blacks in his first test in charge.


Since then notable successes have been hard to come by, and last weekend's thrashing in Sydney, which came on top of the three-test whitewash at the hands of England and their coach Eddie Jones, a former club teammate, has compounded matters.

Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver has said Cheika's job is safe, and regardless he is likely to have a watertight contract after taking over from Ewen McKenzie last year, but the man who didn't think he would be a coach until former great David Campese suggested it to him, must be feeling the pressure.

That's probably why Cheika mentioned the struggles of former Australian test cricketer Greg Chappell as he responded to a column written by former Wallabies wing Clyde Rathbone suggesting his former team were approaching "delusional" if they thought they could beat the All Blacks tonight after one of the worst beatings in their history.

"That obviously hurts us doesn't it," Cheika said. "In Australia there's a bit of that - reporters and ex-players [criticising]. But there's a lot of ex-players who will contact you, not in the newspaper, and say 'we understand it's painful'. Not making it softer, but they're Australian and they'll support Australia no matter what."

As the son of as the son of Lebanese immigrants, Cheika can speak Arabic as well as English, French and Italian. His language skills helped him break into the fashion industry and also helped him start his coaching career in Italy.

Cheika can be abrasive but he can also inspire.

Former Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll, who played under Cheika at Leinster, told the UK's Rugby World: "What amazed me was, after five years as coach, his team talks never became repetitive. He was always able to captivate his audience and that's not easy with a long tenure. He's a very good coach and a very good speaker."

He is facing one of his biggest tests now.