Michael Cheika accepts Australia must improve their discipline
Michael Cheika accepted his Australia side had an issue with discipline following their 45-10 World Cup win against Uruguay on Saturday.
The Wallabies triumphed despite having both Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto sin-binned for high tackles in the first half, while they conceded 12 penalties to their opponents’ five over the course of the encounter.
Australia are already without Reece Hodge, who is serving a three-match ban for a dangerous tackle in their opener against Fiji, and Cheika has been openly critical of World Rugby, both in relation to that suspension and the decision to penalise Samu Kerevi following a collision with Rhys Patchell in the defeat to Wales.
Cheika opted against delving again into the issue of high tackles during his post-match press conference but did concede that his side’s discipline must improve.
“We are giving away too many penalties full stop,” he said. “You can’t be winning by 45 and still lose the penalty count, we’ve got to stop giving away penalties.
“One was for kicking the ball out of a ruck. That’s a penalty and we know that. We have to tidy that up.
“But I’m not going to talk about tackles. I’m going to steer clear of that.”
Discussing his side’s performance, which saw the Wallabies run in seven tries, Cheika added: “We have not started games well. It’s not that we haven’t played well, we’ve just been a little less consistent in the first 20 minutes and that gets us off on the wrong foot. It’s definitely something we need to address.
“The rest of it is OK. The scrum is good, the lineout worked OK, the defence is solid.”
Prop James Slipper scored his first Test try on his 94th appearance for Australia.
“Probably due, wasn’t I?,” said the prop. “Hopefully the floodgates open now. I don’t think they will.
“It’s been a bit of a running joke for about five years now, me not scoring ever.
“The more I played the pressure was getting higher. Obviously everyone knew – it was a bit of a try for everyone I think. That’s what it felt like.”
Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses, whose side picked up the biggest win in the country’s history by beating Fiji earlier in the tournament, added: “I am very proud of my players, they are very dedicated and our side wanted to show the improvement of Uruguayan rugby at the World Cup.
“That’s why we’re here. We’re playing against world-class sides and we believe we can be even stronger by playing against these strong teams more.”