Cheika – England still favourites

Australia believe they go into Saturday’s crunch clash with England as underdogs despite the hosts’ Wales defeat.


“It was a pretty rugged game”, said Cheika.

“I’ll offer whatever I can – they [England] have people I have played with and spent some time with”, he said.

The unconvincing win over Fiji left lingering question marks over the places of several positions – notably, but not limited to, the halves and outside backs.

“Stephen Moore, Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper have done an outstanding job as a leadership team this season and I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to what they’ve created and lead the team on Sunday”. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s my first World Cup game”.

McMahon (21) forced his way onto the tour in part because of his enthusiasm and his insatiable attitude for hard work – he lifts the tempo of every training session and puts senior players on notice.

In other results, Ireland beat Romania 44-10 in front a Cup record crowd of 89,267 at Wembley, and Scotland came from behind to beat the United States 39-16.

Australia did not waste time to cruise past Uruguay, scoring their first try in the sevent-minute mark courtesy of McMahon. I don’t think it is any secret. I believe it’s time to get Waisake Naholo out there against Georgia in Cardiff if he’s fit.

Coach Pablo Lemoine has made five changes to his team, including the promotion of 21-year-old hooker German Kessler to the starting line-up.

Such is the Wallabies strength at openside flanker that Cheika has been forced to pick two specialist No. 7s in his starting forward pack with McMahon waiting in the wings and McCalman ready for his chance. “South Africa are physical, probably even more so, Samoa the same, and we knew this was going to be the kind of rugby we would face in this pool”.

“There are a few players that definitely put their hands up for selection, there’s no doubt about that”.

“It’s getting a bit ridiculous really because every man of the match is seven or eight”, said Cheika.

“I was very pleased and proud of his performance”.

There was a price to pay, however, with No 8 Wycliff Palu withdrawn with a hamstring problem at half-time and giant second row Will Skelton suffering a shoulder injury.

“It’s important we continue to improve each day as a collective”, added Cheika, who has turned the Wallabies fortunes round since assuming control last October culminating in a terrific win over the All Blacks to win the Rugby Championship in August.


“There’s a natural progress in the evolution of a country, if there is a good programme”. But we are still in the World Cup and Australia now is just our World Cup final.

Dean Mumm