Argentina coach Michael Cheika had mixed emotions after his side’s record 48-17 Rugby Championship victory over Australia in San Juan on Saturday, but says he will “do everything” to make the Pumas a force at next year’s World Cup in France.
Australian Cheika was coach of the Wallabies between 2014 and 2019, but after initially taking on a consultant role, took over Argentina fulltime in March.
He masterminded a seven-try romp for his side against a depleted Wallabies, Argentina’s biggest ever win over Australia and their largest in the Rugby Championship.
“I love these guys, they’re my crew now,” Cheika told reporters. “I was up on the last try, cheering. But then I started crying because I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this. It was a bit confusing for me, personally.
“But they’re my boys now. That’s my team. I will do everything I can to help them get success and enjoy rugby. They are paying me a lot of respect here and people are believing in the things that we are doing. I have to do everything I can to help them.”
Argentina will now head to New Zealand for two further Rugby Championship tests, the first of which is in Christchurch on Aug. 27. Each team in the competition, which also includes South Africa, has won one game after the opening two rounds.
“It’s good to be going to Australia and have a few days off, seeing my mum and my brothers and sisters and take the boys for a Leb (Lebanese) feed at my mum’s place,” Cheika said.
“But I am looking forward to going to New Zealand because it is a great place to go and play rugby.”