Wallabies assistant Stephen Larkham has had his wings clipped by the boss ahead of what is being likened to a family reunion on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Australia will face an Argentina side now headed by former Wallabies forwards coach Mario Ledesma at Cbus Super Stadium.
Ledesma helped transform Australia’s scrum in the lead up to the last World Cup before leaving for his homeland on the best of terms with coach Michael Cheika.
Joking when asked of Ledesma’s influence earlier this week, Larkham cheekily replied that “he struggled as an assistant coach” and “didn’t know what he’s going to come up with this weekend”.
Tongue firmly in cheek, Larkham also suggested his former colleague would be stealing from the Wallabies play book on the Gold Coast.
Cheika wasn’t laughing about it on Thursday though, bristling when asked what he thought of Larkham’s banter.
“I’m not that into it, you know what I mean,” he said.
“I get it, the joke and everything, but there won’t be any joking on Saturday.”
Cheika will save the jovial interaction for after the game, knowing his side has a chance to pull back more ground after a morale-boosting defeat of South Africa in Brisbane.
Argentina split a home-and-away series against South Africa to start their campaign before a plucky 46-24 loss to the All Blacks last weekend.
“He’s (Ledesma) done an excellent job. I’m biased, he’s like family to me, but it won’t make a difference on Saturday,” Cheika said.
The Wallabies are $1.27 favourites to win with some bookies but, after back-to- back Bledisloe Cup floggings to begin the Rugby Championship, Cheika isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“We’ve copped a fair bit of flak recently so after last weekend we get a lot of people telling you ‘it’s all good, all good’,” he said.
“It ain’t all good until you’re consistent every single day. It’s a laugh (the banter), but laughs for me are after the game.”