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One Of Our Most Revered Sporting Figures Has Become A Bit Of A Sook

The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 37-10, but we won the bleating.

24/10/2016 1:55 PM AEDT | Updated 24/10/2016 4:01 PM AEDT
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Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have worn All Blacks colours. Kind of a bad omen, I guess.

New Zealand is a land synonymous with sheep. But it was an Australian doing the bleating on the weekend.

If you don't follow rugby, Michael Cheika is the 49-year-old Wallabies coach who came to the job in 2014. He was not happy after the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 37-10 on Saturday night at Eden Park in Auckland. At all. Not one little bit.

Michael Cheika was once so cool. In 2014, he steered the NSW Waratahs -- and if you know another professional men's sporting team named after a flower, please share it with us -- to the Super Rugby provincial championship. This was a big deal. The suits wasted little time installing him in the top job at the Wallabies.

Things went great for a while. Cheika brought old school personal toughness and new school coaching knowhow. In 2015 he took the Wallabies to the World Cup final. Despite being beaten by the Kiwis, he was named world coach of the year. Hooray for Michael Cheika.

This year he's had a shocker.

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Cheika daydreams about what he'd like to do to Kiwi cartoonists.

The Wallabies have won just three of 10 matches. We lost two separate series 3-0 in the southern hemisphere, which has never happened before. But if you think things are bad on the field, eek, don't look in the coach's box.

On Saturday night, the Wallabies were denied a fair try by a ridiculously pedantic piece of refereeing. The video ref decided the All Blacks chaser was impeded, which was such a gullible reaction to a piece of blatant theatrics, you thought for a moment you were watching soccer.

Cheika got grumpy as hell in the coach's box after that. No dramas there. You see worse every week in all football codes. It's what happened after the match that made him look and sound like a great big sook.

Asked by a Kiwi journalist whether he wanted to comment on the All Blacks' 18-game world record winning streak, Cheika instead focused on a cartoon in that morning's New Zealand Herald, which had lampooned him as a clown.

"I don't really think they want my comment anyway," a most indignant Cheika said. "They dressed us up as clowns today so they wouldn't want our comment. I don't think they respect our comment anyway so we won't make one."

As you can see from the above tweet, some Kiwis thought the cartoon a little disrespectful too. But Cheika still should have laughed it off. Imagine if Tony Abbott had taken issue with every news outlet whose cartoonist portrayed him as a man with large ears.

Cheika got on the front foot with good reason later in the press conference, swatting away a question about the inevitable hotel room bugging which always seems to happen -- or is alleged to have taken place -- before a Bledisloe Cup encounter.

He even came out with a good self-deprecating line that he wouldn't be smart enough to organise that sort of thing. And a lovely honest follow-up that he wouldn't need to bug rooms, because New Zealand are "too good anyway". Nor did he blame the loss on the controversial no-try, even though he quite rightly said it had an effect.

So Michael Cheika is still this likeable coaching figurehead. All the same, the general vibe of the guy has changed. Once he sneered for a living. Now he scowls. Or at his worst, whinges. And he wasn't apologising at a press doorstop the day after the press conference.

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Maybe next year, Michael.

"They asked me to make a comment about their achievement and I said I didn't think they cared about my comment which is the truth," he said.

"I think that's the honest thing to say. I could go on with all the politically correct stuff. Why would you let the opposition call your team clowns and mock the jersey? That's how I feel about it. Maybe the others don't."

And maybe a whole bunch other people on both sides of the Tasman think he should just lighten up a little.

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