We need to work at a higher, harder level: Cheika

International
by Sam Phillips

If the Wallabies are to lift their game to the standard required to beat the best, they must learn to work harder and at a higher level for longer.

That was the message from Michael Cheika when he arrived at Brisbane Airport on Sunday.

He scoffed at a suggestion Ned Hanigan would need to be "managed" after another tireless performance before making the tough love message known.

"His work rate has been excellent and his attitude towards his work - for his first two games in Test footy is exactly what we should be targeting as a whole pack all the time - that kind of intent," Cheika said of Hanigan.

"But we have got to work and learn to work at a higher, harder level if we want to compete with the top teams.Ned Hanigan toiled hard for the entire 80 minutes against Scotland. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We have got to be able to get the mental switch that says 'yeah, this is tough, I'm going to go on with the job here' and not to work at a level down.

"We need to get to a mentality where we can do that in all situations."

Urgency is the vogue word in the aftermath of the loss to Scotland and that didn't change when Cheika spoke today.

"We just lacked that little bit of urgency to be at the front of things," he said.

"When we carry back through our rucks, we need to be more urgent to get the game going more in attack to get them on the back foot.


"Just to get that little bit of extra speed in the game to take it on.

"There were a lot of opportunities that we didn't finish where we should have had an extra player or two there or that little bit of extra urgency that goes with lifting the pace of a game."

Cheika also noted his disappointment in the failure to pull through when the 30,000 strong crowd at Allianz Stadium made their support known in the final 10 minutes.

"There was a moment where the crowd all got up, out of their seats, willing us home and we have to take that," he said.Eto Nabuli proudly sported his first Test cap at Brisbane Airport this afternoon. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"That's not something that has been happening in rugby over the last few months and we have got to use that to will ourselves over the line sometimes.

"We didn't do that yesterday and I think the players are feeling that moment a little bit.

"The crowd was right behind them, we thank the Sydney crowd for that, they were excellent.

"We have got to learn when that happens and those opportunities come - even when you haven't had a great game and you're still behind but you've got an opportunity to win it - you've got to use that opportunities."

Changes were forecast in the immediate aftermath of the match but Cheika would not be drawn as to who would come into the starting XV.Rory Arnold made an impact off the bench. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleySefa Naivalu shapes as a strong candidate to come in for Eto Nabuli, though, and Henry Speight will undergo fitness testing on his hamstring tomorrow.

"I thought the finishing team did better, much better than they did in the Fiji game," Cheika said.

"I think Sefa in particular is getting back to his top speed and he's had a bit of an injury riddled season so he's had a few weeks to get back on board.

"Once we have done a more in depth review we will make some changes that we think will help the team get the thing that we want to get, which is more urgency around the paddock."The Wallabies can't afford to be complacent ahead of their clash with Italy. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyItaly were well beaten by Scotland before being beaten by a Ben Volavola drop goal against Fiji Saturday but the Wallabies are in no position to take any opposition lightly.

"I don't think it has anything to do with them - the Italians will be difficult to play, no doubt but this is about us," Cheika said.

"The whole series is - all games are.

"I don't think we are at the level where we can plot the downfall of the opposition in certain ways.

"We have to get our game up to scratch."

The Wallabies take on Italy at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3pm, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio at RUGBY.com.au.

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