Wallabies need to 'show their teeth' in Brisbane

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants his team to 'show its teeth' and its improvement in Brisbane on Saturday night.

The Bledisloe Cup is safely tucked away in New Zealand for the 15th year, but the All Blacks have shown no signs of complacency in recent campaigns and Cheika said the onus was on his side to prove it was good enough to snatch a win away from its trans-Tasman rivals.

"It's not like we're all best friends hanging around, there's a lot of intensity when this encounter comes," he said.

"They've got long standing bragging rights.

"It's really up to us to say, to show we're going to be competitive every single time we go out there and make the games battles that both teams will remember.

"And then, what happens from that results-wise will happen by the quality of our play.

"We're going to need to improve on everything that we've done. We have improved this season but it's all for nothing (if we don't continue that).

"We've got to improve again to think about competing with this team.

"It's one of the best teams that's every run out to play rugby over the last 5-10 years and to compete with that we've got to show our improvement and show our teeth as well."

Cheika resisted the urge to rush Karmichael Hunt straight back into his match day squad, making just one change for the final Bledisloe Cup clash.

Hunt returned to Wallabies camp this week after a three-month injury layoff, and was widely expected to slot straight into the 23, after a standout June Series for the Wallabies.

The utility back has played 90 minutes in the past fortnight for NRC team Brisbane City, but Cheika said the step up to a Bledisloe would be too much to ask of Hunt.

"I think Karmichael has got a game and a half under his belt now, but I think to go with this pace, he probably needs another game or two just to get him up," he said.

"He'll play NRC on the weekend and then he'll be involved at some stage in the Wallabies team (against) the Barbarians."

Only Izack Rodda is missing from that side, with the Reds lock opting to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery in a bid to ensure he can play a full season in 2018.

That loss puts Rob Simmons into the starting XV, with Lukhan Tuii filling the replacement second row spot on the bench.

Rob Simmons is back in the starting team. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/ Stuart WalmsleySimmons has rediscovered some form after being in the Test wilderness in June and Cheika said he had changed his approach to help the veteran lock 'reinvent himself'

"I may have been telling him the wrong thing before to get him going and I think I've adjusted my dialogue with him to try and get him thinking about how he can impact the game in a different way and get him to be himself more and his best self on the field and I think I changed the way I've approached it with him," he said.

"I think we've got more out of him but for a guy with his experience I still think he's got a heap more to give to be hoenst."

Cheika had been vocal about demanding more aggression from SImmons, but didn't reveal if that was an element he had adjusted in his expectations of the former Reds second rower.

"You still want the same outcome obviously but maybe just a different type of discussion with him," he said.

"You've got to try to get to everybody differently.

"I think we've been able to find some common ground on a few ideas and a few ways that he can become better and start to command that spot."

Ned Hanigan is the only new face in the 23, earning a reprieve on the bench as a replacement backrower, after missing the Wallabies' last Rugby Championship win in Argentina.

New Zealand named its side earlier on Thursday, with flyhalf Beauden Barrett ruled out with concussion, replaced by Lima Sopoaga.

Though Barrett has been among New Zealand's most dangerous players since taking the flyhalf baton from Dan Carter, Cheika said the change would not show a chink in New Zealand's armour.

"You saw what Sopoaga did in the game (against South Africa), in the back half when it was on the line," he said.

"He managed it well. I've had the chance to coach him, albeit in a different environment in the Barbarians so I know the quality he brings in the game.

"I think he'll be a different proposition to Barrett but no less dangerous."

Australia takes on New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7:05pm local, 8:05pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.


IN:  Ned Hanigan

OUT: Izack Rodda 

Wallabies team to face New Zealand

1. Scott Sio (38 Tests)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (77 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (86 Tests)

4. Rob Simmons (77 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (17 Tests)

6. Jack Dempsey (5 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (74 Tests)

8. Sean McMahon (21 Tests)

9. Will Genia (vc) (84 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (vc) (51 Tests)

11. Reece Hodge (19 Tests)

12. Kurtley Beale (66 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (53 Tests)

14. Marika Koroibete (3 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (61 Tests)


16. Stephen Moore (124 Tests)

17. Tom Robertson (14 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (18 Tests)

19. Lukhan Tui (2 Tests)

20. Ned Hanigan (8 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (57 Tests)

22. Samu Kerevi (13 Tests)

23. Henry Speight (17 Tests)