Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was involved in a terse exchange with English reporters. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was involved in a terse exchange with English reporters. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty

Wallabies fire up at ‘stupid question’

IF THE sour atmosphere at a media conference this week is any guide, the Wallabies will be steaming going into their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England.

A stock-standard media event degenerated into sarcastic exchanges between three Wallabies and journalists, possibly reflecting how the stakes had risen this week for the players.

Forwards Tolu Latu and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto were unhappy with a line of questioning about coach Michael Cheika and let reporters know about it in eyebrow-raising fashion.

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When asked why the players were laughing after one inquiry, Latu said the question was a "complete joke".

After a sterile start to the 10-minute media conference, which also featured lock Adam Coleman, the mood nosedived when the players were quizzed by English journalists on Cheika's personality traits.

After mirth at the top table, one reporter asked: "Is it awkward when you get asked about your coach? You're all giggling as if you didn't want to answer, or you thought it was a stupid question - not quite sure which one?"

Hooker Latu shot back: "Stupid question. To ask it, I don't know, it's different for you guys and different for us. For us, it comes across as a stupid question so that's why we're all laughing.

 

Michael Cheika is trying to take the heat off his players. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty
Michael Cheika is trying to take the heat off his players. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty

"Obviously, you're asking us a question that we think is a complete joke so, if you're going to ask us questions like that, we'll take it as a joke and throw it back at you."

Salakaia-Loto joined the fray when asked if he believed the Wallabies could defy the underdog tag and beat England on Saturday in Oita.

He responded that they obviously did and put the same question to the reporter. The flanker was unimpressed when the response from the journalist was "not sure".

"Really? That's your problem then. We believe we can beat them," Salakaia-Loto said.

Kepu and Hooper “throw hands” at training ... with a smile. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Kepu and Hooper “throw hands” at training ... with a smile. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Salakaia-Loto defended Cheika's outspoken approach early in the tournament when he railed against a number of issues, mostly around high-tackle interpretation.

He said the coach was "putting himself out there to be shot" and it was something the players appreciated.

Asked if Cheika was a "caring sort of guy", Salakaia-Loto said: "Nah, he's mean, he's a bully, bullies everyone. (No) He's good, man, good fella." The trio departed to stony silence soon afterwards.