Michael Cheika was upbeat and measured heading into this weekend’s clash against the United States, which kicks off this Sunday 9:40am AEST LIVE on Fox Sports.
With the World Cup just over a fortnight away, Cheika is well aware of what’s at stake with the Test against the Eagles providing the Wallabies with their last competitive match before they head to England.
“It’s a Test match. It’s not a discovery now. We’ve had a couple of stages for this team. We had the Spring Tour where we got to know each other, we didn’t really have an idea because it was all so late. For The Rugby Championship we had a bit more time to try a few things. But at this stage now, let’s play.
“These are the combinations, it’s all about match decisions and getting experience in making really good decisions in the match because in the tournament play of the World Cup, that will be critical.”
Looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup, Cheika is not taking any chances, resting players who have had extensive game time in The Rugby Championships and playing those who are looking to prove themselves.
“I think what we did was take a look at the guys that accumulated the most time in the Rugby Championship and we decided we’d let them off. They’ve had a good component of Rugby for the World Cup start.
Then we’ve got a few guys that are I suppose in line for the first game who want to play together and then there are a few guys that have an opportunity. So it’s a bit of a mix and they’re looking forward to the game.”
Cheika is in good spirits alongside the rest of the team, who are making the most their training camp ahead of this weekend’s Test. Cheika has been extremely impressed by the world class facilities at the University of Notre Dame in Louisiana where they have been training over the past week.
“It’s just been brilliant really. I didn’t imagine it would be as good as it’s been. Obviously the campus is just so conducive to striving for excellence. Everything here is so well done and there’s a lot of history, just walking by the stadium, you feel that. Especially with the big game they have against Texas, you can feel the buildup.
“For us, having the facilities that they’ve provided, it’s just been excellent. We’re going to get a few days in Chicago and then back down here for another weeks work before we head off.
“It’s been really good and no distractions, been able to do our own thing, relax, everyone’s been very welcoming and a lot of people know about the Rugby on campus so it’s been good.”
Well aware of individual expectations wanting to make their mark, Cheika is looking for his players to step up and rise to the occasion.
“This is the national team and when you play in the national jersey there are expectations of your performance. It’s not provincial Rugby, it’s a step up. We’re hoping that the way we’ve prepared and the training and just the organisation is a step up, so that we take those types of disciplines into the game.
“I just want them to fill the role that the jersey their given demands of them when they play for Australia.”
The Wallabies take on the Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago this Sunday 9:40am AEST LIVE on Fox Sports.