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Cheika refusing to back down

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/10/2016 Darren Walton and Angelo Risso

Michael Cheika is refusing to be gagged, not backing down on Sunday 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 Bledisloe Cup series finale in Auckland, Cheika took aim at 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.

Seething 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, Cheika let rip in an extraordinary rant after Australia's 37-10 loss at Eden Park.

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.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika © Getty Images Wallabies coach Michael Cheika

"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."

Cheika was also upset at not receiving an invitation into the triumphant dressing room after the All Blacks chalked up their unprecedented 18th consecutive tier-one Test match win.

He admitted the Sydney bugging saga had been the spark that set him off, saying he was deeply offended by any inference the Wallabies camp had been in any way involved in the spying scandal.

Cheika remains furious the bugging report came out on the day of the first Bledisloe Test match in Sydney, after All Blacks management had alerted police about finding an electronic listening device in a team room early in the week.

"I don't want to keep going over the same points, but that (NZ Herald) is obviously their go-to paper," Cheika added on Sunday.

"The whole bug thing came out from there. "We had policemen in our offices asking us questions, asking our management questions. That's serious stuff to be accusing people of and it's not true. That's their go-to. Nothing happens without that connection.

"That's my point of view. They don't have to agree with it. I'm not asking them to agree with it."

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