23 Oct 2016

Wallabies coach the incredible sulk?

7:46 am on 23 October 2016

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has accused Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika of "hijacking" New Zealand's world record celebrations in the sensational aftermath of last night's Bledisloe Cup finale in Auckland.

Steve Hansen and Kieran Read celebrate the All Blacks' win over the Wallabies.

Steve Hansen and Kieran Read celebrate the All Blacks' win over the Wallabies. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Seething at a newspaper cartoon on the morning of the match showing him as a red-nosed clown, Cheika claimed the All Blacks didn't respect the Wallabies.

In an extraordinary rant after Australia's 37-10 loss at Eden Park, Cheika was also upset at not receiving a direct invitation into the triumphant dressing room after the All Blacks chalked up an unprecedented 18th consecutive tier-one test match win.

Look back at RNZ's live blog of the match

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika after the Bledisloe Cup defeat by the All  Blacks at Eden Park.

Michael Cheika after the Bledisloe Cup defeat at Eden Park. Photo: Photosport

But Cheika's biggest gripe was a New Zealand Herald cartoon depicting him as a clown in Wallabies' uniform.

"They dressed us up as clowns today. They put our crest on it, so they wouldn't want our comment (about the record)," Cheika snapped.

"I don't think they respect our comment, anyway, so we won't make one."

Cheika eventually congratulated the All Blacks for their "outstanding" accomplishment before Wallabies captain Stephen Moore intervened to savage the newspaper, saying he was deeply offended.

"The way the jersey is portrayed in that picture, for everyone that has pulled that on in the history of the Wallabies, I think that's pretty disrespectful," Moore said.

"They won the game so they're the ones laughing, so what do you do?"

Cheika stopped short of saying relationships between the Wallabies and All Blacks team ranks were frayed.

"They're on top and we're nowhere at this stage. That's the relationship between the teams," he said.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika (left) and skipper Stephen Moore

Michael Cheika and skipper Stephen Moore (file) Photo: Photosport

"The thing that got me a bit offside was the accusation (before the first test in August) that we tried to bug them, he said, referring to the listening device discovered in the All Blacks' hotel in Sydney.

"Like, really? Hello. Honestly? ... That's what would cause that bad (blood) for me, that show of lack of respect.

"I wouldn't even be smart enough to get that stuff organised. I'm too busy working on my own team.

"They hold onto it, drop it on the day of the game. They don't need to do that stuff. They're too good anyway.

"It's only because they want to do it to try and needle either me or us.

"I wouldn't say it's friendly."

Cheika said he'd happily share a beer with the All Blacks - but hadn't been asked to.

Hansen, though, insisted there was always an "open invitation" into the All Blacks team room for the opposition and said the All Blacks respected the Wallabies "immensely".

He then accused Cheika of "sulking".

"The paper I saw, he was dressed up like a clown. You've got to be bigger than that, don't you?" said Hansen.

"I've been dressed up as a clown myself. You don't want to take it to heart, otherwise it'll break you.

"We've got no control over what the media do ... the thing for me, this conference tonight seems to have been hijacked by something that's really got nothing to do with rugby, (by) someone feeling a little aggrieved about things that you guys have done, making him be a clown.

"It shouldn't get hijacked tonight. What happened tonight is a really good test match between two good teams, some great rugby played and it was a good advert for the game."

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