Wallabies coach Michael Cheika launched a vigorous half-time spray to inspire his side to a record come from behind victory over Argentina in the final round of the Rugby Championship.
Cheika made things personal for his charges at half-time but he says it’s now up to the players to continue their emotional response beyond this weekend. His half-time spray was caught by broadcaster cameras and showed him remonstrating with his players in the change rooms.
The Wallabies coach wasn’t willing to go into what he said at the break but he did reveal that he was simply attempting to get his players to think about how much they wanted it.
"It’s not really for public airing but this game is personal,” he said.
“Everything's got to have personal meaning and we needed to get some personal meaning for our game because in the first half it wasn't there and once the lads got some meaning about what they wanted to do and some purpose, they played a heap better, a heap better.
"I just wanted to say what I felt, that's all.
"I didn't go down there with a plan of doing that or anything like that. I just wanted to say what I felt, because the game is personal.
"I wanted to just let them know how I felt."
Footage of Cheika’s half-time spray lit up discussion after it was broadcast, with the coach in the past having had a reputation as a fiery dressing room orator.
Cheika grabbed Bernard Foley's shirt but the fly-half said afterwards he was not a personal target, but rather the nearest player as Cheika spoke about the value of the Wallabies jersey.
“I’ve had him for a while so I’ve been on the end of a few but he’s definitely a passionate guy, that’s how he coaches, he coaches with his heart on his sleeve and the guys responded."
Whatever Cheika said clearly worked as his side piled on five second-half tries to mount the Wallabies’ biggest-ever comeback, and the biggest comeback in tier 1 Test history as well.
“The clever guys, the smart guys will learn from that and take that on board so that it makes them better rugby players and better representatives of Australia when they go out on the field,” he said.
“I think that's extremely important.
“We can't guarantee anything - you stay grounded after a half of footy which, there was a lot of really great passages, some great rugby played and also the defence, it was like it wasn't the same team defending.
“We’ve just got to count on taking that lesson to the next game because the only thing that counts is the next game in Japan against New Zealand and we've got to start to get ourselves mentally ready for that game and physically ready and then technically ready as well is the last piece.”