Series decider a test of adaptability: Cheika

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has a simple formula for his side to clinch the June Series this weekend.

Australia and Ireland will come into the third Test with one win each under their belts, and Cheika said the third Test will reveal how each side has developed with the series.

“It's more about how you adapt as the series goes on and sort of things, because you do get to know the other team pretty quickly when you're going back to back and then obviously three games in a row,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the same sort of principles apply don't they?

“Win the physical battle, work harder than the opposition, try to reduce the penalties as much as possible and you're in the game with a big opportunity - then it's about how prepared you are to go on attack and we're definitely a team that's prepared to go on attack.”

Ireland got the better of the Wallabies in the physicality stakes in Melbourne and have named a beefed-up lineup but Cheika backed his side to take that up another level in the third Test.

“I just had a look at the (Ireland) team then,” he said.

“They're always going to bring physicality - you see how they do that thing where they get the two players connected beforehand and they try to ram you one through the other and they've been good because they're big and strong and they've been tackling, folding in, rolling in the way because they want to slow our ball down.

“So, you need a physical presence to be able to do that and we've just got to get there before them.

“We've got to not let them there and if they're there, we've got to get them out of the way with whatever means we need.

Cheika said accurate kicking would be critical to get Israel Folau into the game, after Ireland's defence shut down the Australia superstar in Melbourne.

"We've got a few different things that we might look at, for sure,” he said.

"But we can counter the blocking and everything like that with better kicks.

"If we do that, or maybe a few different things that they're not ready for to change up the picture ... but again, everything depends on having the platform laid up front

 "Nothing happens without that type of physicality and that type of accuracy around the attacking ruck to be able to launch any of these things.”

Penalties have become a major headache for the Wallabies, who have been on the unfavourable side of the count in both June Tests, but Cheika said they were confident they could turn that around.

“We’re working on it hard, even with our off-field stuff and getting an understanding from the referees of exactly what they’re looking for and making sure we’re relaying that correctly. Just little things,” he said.

“Because I think for us if we keep working on that, like all things, you practice it, it will start to turn for you.”

The Wallabies take on Ireland in the third June Test in Sydney, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RADIO..