Wallabies coach reveals plans for midyear Tests
WALLABIES coach Michael Cheika says there will be no room for getting cute and experimenting in the June Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.
Australia, ranked third in the world, will start warm favourites in all three Tests, with the improving Scots ranked fifth, Fiji 10th and a slumping Italy 15th.
But Scotland, who have fallen agonisingly short against the Wallabies in their last two clashes, will be without their British and Irish Lions stars for the Sydney Test, including fullback Stuart Hogg, voted best player of the last two Six Nations.
The Wallabies, of course, have their own issues, with Cheika's team managing just six wins from 15 Tests last year, including four straight losses to England and three against the All Blacks.
And Cheika wants the June Tests to be an opportunity to play an attractive, winning brand of rugby in front of what he hopes of healthy home crowds.
France-based halfback Will Genia is expected to be available but Kurtley Beale, currently starring for English Premiership pacesetters Wasps, may not.
"Obviously you've got to look at form as the predictor as well, but there will be no experimenting," Cheika told reporters in Sydney.
"We've got three 3pm kick-offs where we can get kids to the game.
"That's the great opportunity, that's why the night kick-offs are so hard.
"I want to take my own kids to the game to watch.
"We've got a chance to have families and kids and everyone there to watch the Wallabies.
"We're not going to be experimenting.
"We want to play the best footy that we can."
Cheika held his first 2017 Wallabies camp in Canberra this week, with 48 players invited to the indoctrination.
Promising youngsters Izack Rodda, Sef Fa'agase, Duncan Paia'aua, Ned Hanigan, Jake Gordon, Tyrel Lomax and Richard Hardwick were all included and, despite Australia's miserable start to the Super Rugby season, Cheika said the mood at the camp was upbeat.
He also praised the five Super Rugby coaches for releasing their players and pointed to the improving relationship between club and country as proof that Australia didn't need a New Zealand-style centralised system.
"We can't ask for too much, so players have a bit of time off on their bye week, so the Perth guys and Sydney guys, and the other coaches were very good in letting us have them," Cheika said.
"I wanted it to be short so at least those players could get back there to train on Tuesday for their games.
"The Reds are playing the Kings on Saturday, the Brumbies and Rebels is a huge game on Saturday night.
"They're giving me support - centralisation, I don't actually think it needs that, I think it needs relationships.
"It needs good relationships with each other and we'll challenge each other, and we'll get the right results based off that."