PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, Sept 30 (Reuters) - U nder-pressure coach Michael Cheika has lamented Australia’s failure to convert their chances in an error-strewn Rugby Championship defeat to South Africa but says his side will ride out the tough times and emerge stronger.
Australia are bottom of the Championship after Saturday’s 23-12 loss in Port Elizabeth and will finish there if they fail to beat Argentina next week.
With Australia only winning two of their past eight matches, Cheika is under huge pressure to round out the tournament with a victory and show that they can be competitive at the World Cup in a year’s time.
The latest defeat is likely to trigger more calls in Australian media for Cheika’s head but the coach remained defiant.
“No one wants to win more than me, trust me. I think that’s pretty obvious,” he told reporters.
“But like I said before tough situations come and then they go away and the tough people will stay.
“I think we made improvements this week and things haven’t been going for us either.”
The performance against the Springboks was an improvement on the abject home loss to Argentina at the Gold Coast earlier this month but the Wallabies continue to frustrate fans with their lack of a clinical edge in attack.
They dominated possession and territory in the second half against South Africa but were held scoreless by Rassie Erasmus’s team, who avenged their tight loss in Brisbane.
“I don’t think we dominated the physical contest enough but we were still able to manufacture a lot of opportunities,” said Cheika.
“I thought we created some very good opportunities then we just couldn’t get the finish on a couple of times.
“It was two tries-all, we basically gave one away and then we had a lot of good footy but you’ve got to capitalise on your moments, don’t you?” (Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)