Clowngate: Our Aussie cartoonist hits back at Michael Cheika

The Herald's Aussie cartoonist Rod Emmerson today hit back at Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's outburst.

"Cheika may be pissed at the artwork, but he'll be even more pissed when he realises I am Australian, and his cousin dated my sister," Emmerson said.

Cheika was seething last night after being portrayed as an angry clown complete with red nose in a mock up picture in the country's biggest paper, the New Zealand Herald, alongside the headline "send in the clowns" on the match morning.

New Zealand Herald cartoonist Rod Emmerson. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand Herald cartoonist Rod Emmerson. Photo / Supplied

Veteran cartoonist Emmerson revealed he was given advance warning on the story, and the idea was to 'needle' Cheika a pinch before the match.

"That's what I did. It could have been seen as reverse psychology, hoping it would fire the Wallabies up somewhat to break the curse of Eden Park.

Instead, it got under his skin."

Emmerson explained his cartoon was partly in response to the Sydney-based Daily Telegraph portraying Richie McCaw as a witchetty grub on its front page, less than a week before the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.

The front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph declared war on McCaw.
The front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph declared war on McCaw.

"It is satire and nothing more," he said. "And a bit of payback for Witchetty Ritchie.

"It was a bit of a friendly shot across the bow - except, this took out the mast and sails instead. Ooops."

Australia coach Cheika after their loss to the All Blacks. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Australia coach Cheika after their loss to the All Blacks. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Cheika won't back down

In Sydney today, Cheika refused to be gagged, not backing down after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen accused his Wallabies counterpart of "hijacking" New Zealand's test world record celebrations.

In a sensational aftermath to Saturday night's 37-10 All Blacks victory in Auckland, Cheika took aim at the New Zealand media over being depicted as a clown and then claimed the All Blacks did not respect the Wallabies, suggesting they were involved in the media caricature.

Hansen later said Cheika needed to be bigger than to take a newspaper's barb to heart and said it was wrong to suggest the All Blacks could dictate what the media did.

But Cheika was still stewing upon his arrival back at Sydney airport 12 hours later.

"Why would you let the opposition call your team clowns and mock the jersey? That's how I feel about it," he said. "Maybe others don't. Maybe that's not the way. But I've never had an Australian jersey so I think it's something that should be treasured.

"We're going there for a good contest and I think they (All Blacks) are connected to it (the photo mock up) obviously because they are talking about it.

"That's my opinion and I'm entitled to voice my opinion, right or wrong."

World media reaction

Media around the world have picked up on the extraordinary 'Clowngate' row after Australia's 37-10 loss to the All Blacks.

British newspapers the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail carried reports on All Blacks coach Hansen accusing Wallabies counterpart Cheika of "hijacking" New Zealand's world record celebrations.

Australian outlets Fox Sports and ABC News Online also waded in with prominent coverage of the spectacular post-game stoush.

ABC described Cheika as being "seething at being dressed up as a red-nosed clown in the New Zealand Herald on the morning of the match".

Hansen's comments came after Cheika unleashed on the All Blacks and New Zealand media following a "disrespectful" depiction of him as a clown in a cartoon on the front page of the Weekend Herald sports section alongside the headline, Send in the Clowns.

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