Wallabies coach Michael Cheika watches his team warm up.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika watches his team warm up. Alastair Grant

Cheika on mend after surgery

RUGBY UNION: Coach Michael Cheika has been forced to "grin and bear it” as he joined the rest of the Wallabies camp in England after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Greeted by a small media pack upon landing, Cheika removed his sling before fronting the cameras.

"No visible signs of weakness, you know what I mean - grin and bear it,” he said.

"I have a new empathy for players recovering from reconstructive surgery because it's quite painful. Maybe it is because I am a little bit older. I just deal with it.”

Cheika injured the shoulder after a training mishap with Israel Folau before the third Bledisloe Cup Test a fortnight ago.

Both were walking and looking in opposite directions when they collided, Cheika falling to the ground and landing on his shoulder.

"Izzy's still on the tour so he's all right, he didn't get dropped,” Cheika said. "The important thing was that he didn't get injured. The coach can't be injuring the players.

"It was pretty innocuous when it happened on the day. I just rolled over and got straight back up without realising it. It's all good. A bit of rehab and I will be back next year.”

Australia begins its grand slam tour with a Test against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday (12.30am AEST).

Cheika played down Bernard Foley's belief they can become the first Wallabies side since 1984 to complete the slam.

"It is very important for players to have dreams and of achieving the bigger picture items,” Cheika said.

"I really believe that's important. If you don't have those dreams inside you then what are you doing it for?

"The reality is that in a series like this and a tour like this then it is only the next day that counts. (The grand slam) in the background and that will only come to fruition when we are excellent every day.

"A lot of our players who have not toured the northern hemisphere before will learn about what it is like over here as we get into each day, prepare, learn, grow as a team, which is something we have been doing this year through some hardship and some successes.

"If you look too far ahead you will get burnt. Deal with what we have got to do today, get something from it and go from there.”



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