Cheika expects axing to fire Fardy up

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is expecting a more ‘fired up’ Scott Fardy, after dropping the veteran flanker from the side to face the Springboks.

Cheika opted to elevate Dean Mumm to the starting team for this weekend, a move that pushed Fardy out the matchday 23 entirely.

Mumm has been the most successful Australian jumper in recent weeks, coming off the bench and Cheika said his form had forced the change.

Fardy was dropped to the bench for the first Bledisloe Test, recalled in Wellington and Cheika said he hoped a week off would give the 32-year-old a refresher.

“He's been a stable member of the team for a long time now,” he said.

Dean Mumm and Reece Hodge are the two changes for the Wallabies' side to face the Springboks. Photo; ARU Media/Stu Walmsley“Maybe a game off will give him the chance to freshen up and get himself fired up to come back.”

Fardy’s omission as well as the recent axing of Rob Simmons have surprised many outsiders but Cheika said the moves were creating a greater intensity among the squad.

“We need, and we are, creating competition in our team,” he said.

“That's what we have to do. As you can see, our team's changing, and what we've always said we'd do is bring guys in from underneath, bring a few blokes back, squeeze from the top and put the competition into the middle tier.

"I've worked off that formula before and that's what we're trying to do now.

“At the end of the day that competition for places is the best driver for performance.”

Dean Mumm has been the best lineout jumper. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile the backrow has been changed, Cheika has opted for the same lock duo in consecutive Tests for the first time this season and his lineout options will be heavily tested against the Springboks.

South Africa has been quick this week to heap praise on the Wallabies lineout and new starter Mumm said a strong set piece performance on Saturday would answer some critics.

Mumm, along with the side’s two most recent callers Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman, have been key players in developing the lineout strategy, something that has been in the spotlight after the All Blacks dominated the set piece.

“Their lineout's been running very well. [Lood] De Jager and }Pieter-Steph] Du Toit, who's come on, they've both been doing a fantastic job in that,” he said.

“It's a really good opportunity for us to show the work that we've been doing on the paddock but ultimately you're judged by what you produce on the field and that's our opportunity on the weekend.”