Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has reacted angrily to suggestions he is under pressure and might want to walk away from the team after another Bledisloe Cup beating at the hands of the All Blacks.
With the Bledisloe Cup locked away for another year in New Zealand – the All Blacks have held it since 2003 – Cheika will increasingly come under the spotlight at home. He did last week, with suggestions his employers the Australian Rugby Union were lining up alternatives – such as they are only a year out from the World Cup – but the combustible coach is having none of it.
Asked by an Australian reporter whether he was worried about his job, Cheika snapped back: "If you're naïve enough to think I'm worried about my job you don't know me at all."
Cheika, a self-made millionaire through his clothing business, added: "Some people might do rugby coaching for a job but I do it because it's a passion."
Another Australian journalist asked whether Cheika would know when it was time to move on, and whether there would be a debate in his head in such a case.
Cheika replied: "If you think there's a debate going on in your mind then you need to take some pills to sort it out because there's no debate going on in my mind."
The Wallabies last won at Eden Park in 1986 and once Beauden Barrett stamped his mark on the game – which was early – there was little chance of that hoodoo being broken.
Cheika based the side at Waiheke Island in a bid to change his team's luck, but in the end it was the same old story and his face and verbal reaction to a couple of reasonable questions afterwards said it all; his side aren't far away in terms of skill level and game plan but they are still a world away in terms of attitude and the ability to put it all together.
The Wallabies' conclusion was that it was the turnovers that killed them. The fact that the All Blacks are so clinical when they do turn the ball over is another factor. And so is the reason why the Wallabies didn't have the required numbers of defenders on their feet – that's an attitude thing and something the All Blacks are very good at.
Steve Hansen's men scored five tries from turnovers in Sydney last weekend and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper believed the All Blacks scored five from their six off turnovers again at Eden Park, although the real figure was probably closer to three.
"I think, like last week, we got killed on the turnovers," Cheika said. "That was a key area. We talked about lineouts last week. We didn't lose those this week but we got killed on the turnovers.
"I think that pretty much sums up the tale.
"We need to get more people up on their feet when a turnover is on and get it done and close down their threat.
"We know New Zealand are a big threat with their ability to play off the turnover."
Hooper added: "It happens very fast. On the field our ability to get on the same page there is the issue. When we're not getting aligned on those things and a team like New Zealand who are great there can make us pay.
"We're not up to scratch there… we're not reacting fast enough. That's probably it. New Zealand move the ball very quickly… and we're not quick enough to get into position… they made us pay again.
"In two weeks, 10 [tries] off turnover I think. It's too many. We've got to fix it."