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Don't laugh, Wallabies can win: Cheika

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/06/2017 Vince Rugari

Coach Michael Cheika still believes Australia can end their 14-year Bledisloe Cup drought - even if he knows that thought alone will trigger belly laughs on both sides of the Tasman.

The Wallabies have eight weeks to get things right after a flattering 40-27 win over Italy on Saturday which did nothing to allay fears they will be cannon fodder for New Zealand in their next clash in Sydney on August 19.

A candid Karmichael Hunt said what many fans would have been thinking when he spoke to Fox Sports after the final whistle: "We just can't afford to do that against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship because they'll kill us."

Cheika took a moment to ponder when that quote was later put to him.

"The idea for me as a coach is not to make that kind of assumption because it's a nice statement for the paper," he said.

"The performance wasn't up to winning that match, for sure, but we've got to get our work right in the next six to eight weeks that's left before that first Test so we don't play like that, we play much better."

Cheika's players now return to Super Rugby for the last two weeks of the regular season and it is here that they must deliver for his hopeful outlook to be rooted in any sort of reality.

It is the franchises who will be expected to train their Test players harder after complaints from Cheika they were not at the level required when they first came into camp.

He suggested maybe some of the reason why they were so flat against Scotland and Italy was because of the extra work pumped into them.

"To be at the level we need to be to defeat New Zealand ... I know everyone's having a laugh when I say that, everyone at home," he said.

"But I believe with that clear goal, we can go up there and do that.

"We've got to work extra hard and we've got to be prepared to work even harder once we come out of Super Rugby for that little (training) block to be ready because at least the fitness base can let us be in the hunt.

"Whichever way you spin it, it's a key element to staying in the game. You've got to play for 80 and you've got to play hard for 80.

"Then from there it'll be how good a footballers we are."

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