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"I've never met Phillip but when I heard about it I cried": Cheika

Roar Guru
28th November, 2014
26

Australian rugby coach Michael Cheika was brought to tears by news of Phillip Hughes’ death and says the Wallabies want to pay their respects at Twickenham this weekend.

Australian players will honour the late cricketer’s memory by wearing black armbands in Saturday’s Test match against England while officials confirmed on Friday a minute’s applause would be held prior to kickoff.

“We just want to show that we care,” Cheika said on Friday.

“Show respect to the family and maybe make people remember the man for another moment.”

Hughes’ shock death has hit the Wallabies squad hard, even for those like Cheika who didn’t know him.

“I don’t know why there’s that connection for some reason,” Cheika said.

“I suppose being in a professional sports game as well you can really identify with that.

“I’ve never met Phillip but when I heard about it I cried because there’s something about it that touches you and how unfortunate it is.

“Any type of respect we can show, we want to do it.”

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Several Wallabies players had met Hughes and he took part in a cross-sport promotional photo shoot with Israel Folau, Matt Toomua and Nic White earlier this year.

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper said on Thursday the team had been rocked by the tragedy.

“It’s the kind of news you never want to wake up to,” Hooper said.

“It’s a pretty sombre mood when we’ve been talking about it as a group because we play in a sport (where) you don’t see these things happen.

“We all love our cricket and see these guys play and a lot of the guys have met the cricketers and have good feelings towards them.

“So our thoughts and our messages go back to him and his family and for the whole cricket team to stay strong.

“For us to see that, it’s tough and this weekend we’ll hopefully be able to show our messages strongly.”

England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster also offered his condolences.

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“Obviously we were all deeply saddened and shocked this morning to hear the news and on behalf of England rugby we’d like to pass on our condolences to his family and friends and obviously the Australian team themselves,” Lancaster said.

Hooper said while Hughes would be in the players’ minds on Saturday they would be able to focus on the job at hand in their tour finale.