SYDNEY, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika is hoping the attitude of Kurtley Beale rubs off on some of his team mates as the Wallabies head to Canberra still looking for their first win of the Rugby Championship.
The livewire centre returned to the green and gold for the competition after injuries and a spell in England kept him out of test rugby for the better part of two years and he has been a revelation.
His third try in as many games won him the Man of the Match award in Perth on Saturday but his brilliant first-half effort was ultimately not enough to break the deadlock in a 23-23 draw with the Springboks.
“For a guy who hasn’t played footy since the end of May, he’s just came in, played three or four games of footy and killed it, has carved it up,” Cheika said.
“We all need to just have that same attitude around wanting it a lot and staying at it.
“We’ve seen in this campaign... that that attitude’s definitely there and it’s about just concentrating on what we’re doing in every moment of the game and we’ll finish some of these opportunities that we’re creating off.”
Cheika said he was left feeling ‘neutral’ about the draw, which came after the back-to-back losses to the All Blacks with which the Wallabies opened the Rugby Championship.
The good news for the coach was that a badly corked thigh for number eight Sean McMahon was the only real injury concern.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau got a poke to the eye and was taken off the field for a concussion test but told reporters on Sunday he would be fit to face Argentina in the Australian capital next weekend.
Polota-Nau, who scored Australia’s other try in Perth, still might not get the start against the Pumas with Stephen Moore set to re-join the squad after the birth of his third child.
The lineout was an area of concern for Cheika and the former captain is more accurate with his throwing than Polota-Nau, who is a more powerful runner and scrummager.
With two away tests rounding out Australia’s Rugby Championships campaign after Saturday’s match in Canberra, the Wallabies desperately need a win to show for the efforts.
“They’re a tough opponent,” Cheika said of the Pumas.
“It’s always a good match. It’s been open and there’s been a fair bit of footy played, so we’re looking forward to taking another step and getting down to Canberra and getting stuck into that match.” (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)