Cheika yet to make Koroibete call

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies Spring Tour could be one for experimentation, but coach Michael Cheika says he is yet to make a call on bringing Storm star Marika Koroibete.

Koroibete last week told reporters that Cheika had invited him on Spring Tour, suggesting the NRL flyer would be on the inside track to the Wallabies side.

Cheika didn’t rule out the possibility of inviting Koroibete and Western Force addition Curtis Rona on the tour, with the first Test on  November 5 against Wales, but said nothing was definite yet.

“I don't know how that's going to roll out, have to see what happens and where we're at but he's (Koroibete) obviously in fine form over there,” he said.

Marika Koroibete is currently playing in the NRL finals. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile the NRL duo have not been confirmed, Cheika said the five-Test tour would be one for the next generation, with Brumbies halfback Joe Powell one likely to be along for the ride.

“Spring Tour's an opportunity for some young players as well I think,” he said.

“You can see the way we're driving a campaign now to get some experience into younger players and a couple of guys I mentioned there and a guy I've already had a look at maybe Joey Powell.

“There's guys there in our younger ranks that we want to have a good blend with and give an opportunity to to come on and have a look and see what it's all about, get a bit of experience so when their time comes.”

Joe Powell could be in the mix for Spring Tour. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThe Wallabies have fielded seven debutants this season, six of whom had their first chance to sing the national anthem after a match last weekend, and Cheika has said they won’t be the last new faces this season.

Despite the injection of fresh faces, Cheika admitted there was still a balance between giving players Test experience and building combinations, with the latter paying off against the Springboks.

“It’s the way it works, combinations grow as you play more together and you’ve got to pick when to stick with combinations and when maybe to give someone else a chance, it’s always a fine balance."

The Wallabies have another chance to test that balance this weekend and Cheika said he was focused on his team continuing to progress.

Michael Cheika expects more new faces. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyWhen asked whether a loss would undo the momentum generated by their drought-breaking win, Cheika said he wasn't preoccupied by the stakes.

“We’re not sewing here, it’s not unpicking something,” he said.

“Every game’s a new battle where we’re building all the time."

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