Wallabies need to shake hesitation

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

One win was a handy circuit breaker for the Wallabies but coach MIchael Cheika is expecting improvement this week.

The Wallabies snapped a six-Test losing streak against South Africa but Cheika said he wanted to seehis side play with more freedom.

“Your potential is where you’ve got to target so I think considering the context of the game and where we were there was always going to be a bit of anxiety around “we’re in front, let’s hold on” as opposed to playing a bit free-er,” he said.

“That’s normal and I’ve seen that before and I want us to free ourselves up and play a bit more footy.”

Allan Alaalatoa has been ruled out of the Argentina Test. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThough he is in doubt for the Wallabies’ Pretoria Test, it is hoped Allan Alaalatoa will travel with the squad to South Africa and on to London for their away match against the Pumas.

Cheika said while losing the 22-year-old was a blow for the side, he was positive about new camp additions Tom Robertson and Toby Smith.

“He’s been coming on very nicely,” he said.

“It’s been really positive for us to have a guy like him come in, losing Greg Holmes at the start of the season there was a bit of doom and gloom but we always saw Allan in that role we just had to convince Stephen [Larkham] to change him over to the other side of the scrum, he finally gave in.

“He’s really doing well with that. It’s a blow but it’s also a great opportunity. Tom Robertson been in the squad but uncapped, Toby Smith has come in now to rejoin the squad after a while out.

“Obviously we’re trying to build more and more competition in the team as well and this is a good opportunity for these lads.”

Robertson had to make a dash from the NSW Country Eagles match against the Rising to make a flight in time to come into camp.

Tom Robertson has had a meteoric rise. Photo: Getty ImagesIf the Waratahs prop were to play on Saturday, he would add to the Wallabies list of 2016 debutants and Cheika said the 22-year-old’s progress had surprised him.

"He has definitely has been [one of the finds of the year]," he said.

"I saw him in the U20s at the Waratahs when I was coaching there so I didn't think he'd be through as quick.

“He's just managed coming into better company and managing the growth. I really think he's got a bright future."

The Wallabies need to improve. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyCheika said the NRC had helped fringe Wallabies push their cases, with a handful suiting up for their provincial sides during the Rugby Championship.

“The NRC is proving to be a real hidden treasure for us because guys like Willy Skelton, Luke Morahan, Tom Robertson.”

“We really appreciate that from the NRC teams to work with us to get our guys, even though they may not be at training.”

Alaalatoa is the only injury worry for the Wallabies this weekend, though lock Adam Coleman sat out training on Monday, after getting stitches in his lip during Saturday night’s Springboks clash.

The Wallabies host the Pumas at nib Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST.