'Had to be asked': Rugby fans defend 'cruel' Wallabies question

Michael Cheika might not have liked it, but the question was always going to be asked.

The Wallabies coach was left bristling in his press conference after being asked about his future in the job after Australia's trouncing by England in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Australia's campaign in Japan came to an emphatic end as England romped away with a 40-16 victory to set up a blockbuster semi-final against the All Blacks.

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Cheika had suggested in February last year that he would step down as Wallabies coach if his side failed to win the World Cup in Japan.

However, when asked about his future in the immediate aftermath to the humbling England defeat, the Australia coach turned the tables on the reporter.

"It's a cruel, cruel world when you're asking those questions two minutes after we've been knocked out of the World Cup," he said.

"If you'd find it inside you to find a little bit of compassion for people that are hurting, can't you ask the more relevant questions?

"For me, I came here with only one thought in my mind, about winning here, and that thought's only disappeared now, not 15, 20 minutes ago.

"I know that's what the papers demand, but perhaps [you] should think about people's feelings for a minute. Just chill."

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Many equally distraught Wallabies fans agreed with the coach that it was a low blow to ask whether he would step down moments after his team had been knocked out of the World Cup.

However, social media was inundated with responses from viewers who argued that the reporter was merely doing their job and it was a logical question to ask.

Despite their biggest ever defeat at a Rugby World Cup, Cheika is adamant he got it right with their ball-in-hand tactics in Japan.

The evidence all points to the contrary after the Australia were given a lesson in streetwise rugby by England in the quarter-final in Oita.

Wallabies coach stands by tactics

It is the heaviest loss the Wallabies have suffered in nine editions of the World Cup and a sour note to end on for Cheika, who is almost certainly set to be shown the door by Rugby Australia.

Although the coach wouldn't declare his intentions immediately after the game, it is understood Rugby Australia will launch a review into the failure of 2019 and a new coach will be appointed.

Cheika's legion of critics has grown in the latter stages of his five-year tenure not helped by his refusal to add a kicking dimension.

He has been adamant from game one of the tournament that Australia should adopt an all-out attack method, with little kicking in general play.

It was never convincing in pool play and backfired badly against England, with possession frequently turned over deep within their own territory, which the clinical winners feasted off.

Cheika refused to accept he had got it wrong.

A dejected Wallabies captain and coach embrace after the heavy defeat to England. Pic: Getty

"That is the way we play footy. I am not going to a kick-and-defend game," he said.

"Call me naive but that's not what I am doing. I would rather win playing our way, that's the way Aussies want us to play."

It has been a common refrain throughout the tournament, as has been Cheika's beef that teams have scored their tries through one-off methods such as intercepts.

That was the source of two of England's four tries on Saturday and Cheika said the final scoreline didn't reflect how competitive his team were.

"You could say it came down to a few key moments. Everything was pretty tight. We have come to the tournament and played, over the last two years, our best rugby.

"We've played a lot of attacking rugby, scored some good tries.

"As tends to happen to us sometimes, over the past few years, we go hard on the attack and sometimes we will encounter intercepts and dropped balls."

If there was tournament where Australia could play conservative rugby it was this one.

The Wallabies tight five more than held their own in the set pieces and, until the final quarter, arguably edged the vaunted English pack.

With AAP