Improvement left in Wallabies: Cheika

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They have a Rugby World Cup final berth under their belts but wallabies coach Michael Cheika says the national team is still an unknown quantity.

With a June Test series against England on the horizon, Cheika said there was plenty of improvement left in the squad in the coming months.

“Still an unknown quantity for me,” he said, speaking at the Asteron Life Super Rugby launch

“We’ve still got lots of improving to do.”

Cheika said he wanted to expand the number of players in the Wallabies fold this season but wouldn’t be including players for the sake of it.

“I’m looking at growing the base of players,” he said.

“(It’ll be) because they’ve earned it through what they’re doing in Super Rugby and then to grow that base of guys who can be playing and making a serious contribution.

“Still for me it’s the same thing, we’re just starting.

“We’ve got so much to do to make sure we're going to be consistently competing with the best.”

On the coaching side of things Cheika will be looking to lock in Stephen Larkham’s services again.

Larkham is yet to confirm whether he will be continue his role as Wallabies attack coach but Cheika won’t be letting him turn down the offer easily.

“He’ll have to fight me if he doesn't’ want to be in it because he did such a good job last year,” he said.

“I understand it’s difficult and I’ll do whatever it takes around helping him so that it doesn’t interfere with his Super Rugby.

“And when he comes to the Australian team he brings that knowledge that he has and that rapport he has with the players and we can use it for the betterment of our players here.”

Stephen Larkham is yet to decide whether he'll continue his Wallabies role. Photo:Getty Images

Larkham said he was yet to sit down with Cheika to talk about his plans.

“I haven’t fully discussed it with Cheik yet,” he said.

“There’s obviously a lot of complications, coaching Super rugby and we’ve got the June window when England are coming out and that crossover period,” he said.

“So it’s something I need to sit down with Cheik and have a look at the whole structure of things and make a decision from there.

“It (the balance) was very difficult last year.

“I certainly enjoyed it, it was an amazing journey that we went on but it was tough on the family and mentally getting back into each program.”

As for Cheika’s own contract, the head coach has put it to the back of his mind.

Cheika is contracted until the end of 2017 but has expressed a desire to take the Wallabies through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“It all comes down to how well you do so I know that if I don’t sign a contract and I do well, then I’m hopefully get offered another one.

“If I don’t and I’ve got a contract then what am I going to do, fight to stay in it?

“At the end of the day it’s paperwork really. It's just about getting the right things happening.

“They’ve spoken to me and given me some idea of what they’d like and looks pretty good to me.”