Australia will use scars from England series loss - Cheika


Australia head coach Michael Cheika acknowledged his players will be scarred from their series defeat to England, but urged them to use that pain to their advantage in the future.

A 23-7 defeat in Melbourne on Saturday condemned Australia to their first series defeat to England at home, with Cheika accepting responsibility for his side's tactical failings.

Despite dominating the ball Australia could not find a way through England's determined defence, with Chris Robshaw, Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell all outstanding in victory for the visitors.

Cheika accepted morale will be tough to pick up after losing to Eddie Jones' men on home soil.

"Pretty bad. That's how it feels, pretty bad," Cheika said in his post-match press conference. "I'm not even going to say we've got to learn from it, just use the scars later on.

"I think we dropped a lot of balls out there, we ran a lot, maybe played too much in the wrong areas too. Same as last week - we played a lot of footy, but playing a lot of footy doesn't win you the game. We've got to learn how to play a lot of footy and win the game too.

"I know that we want to play a lot of footy - we're making a stack more passes and a stack more rucks - but it doesn't always convert into the scoreboard. That will happen sometimes, playing that way, but it shouldn't happen regularly. 

"Even though we've had a lot of attacks, we scored four tries last week and we've only got one this week. I think a lot of that has to do with the conditions, the wicket was pretty sticky, so it was hard to get the flow on.

"The ball was spinning around in the ruck but we're going to have to own that and suck it up. In certain parts of the field we should have kicked more, but I'm responsible for the tactics."

Australia have brought new faces into their squad since the World Cup, but Cheika insisted he would not use that as an excuse for his team's poor performances against England.

"I don't think the post-match press conference is the right place to discuss the composition of the team," Cheika said. 

"Our squad has changed a fair bit, I think there's 10 or 11 changes from the World Cup, but that's the opportunity for us to grow our depth.

"That's what we're going to get out of this. The opportunities that we let go in this game, just through errors, at this point is more to the forefront of my mind than the other things that we may be getting from the series."

Cheika credited England for their clever play, noting they spoiled a lot of Australia attacks due to the aggressive tactics employed by his opposite number Jones.

He added: "You have to pay credit to England, they played very well. In both games so far they've played very smart. They've played in the right areas and they've played the ruck well.

"They spoiled a lot of good balls for us, there was a lot of balls squeaking out, and well done to them. They've seen that we're going to play a lot of footy and they've chosen the opposite way, there's always the contrasting styles, and their way has been victorious, pretty clearly."