Cheika: One Change
Michael Cheika has made just one change to the starting XV that overcame Wales in Cardiff, with Will Genia returning in place of Nick Phipps for Sunday’s clash with Scotland.
Australia’s 24-point win was reason enough for Cheika to stick solid with the starting players who propelled the Wallabies to their most complete first half of the year. Genia, who joined the Wallabies in camp on Sunday after fulfilling club commitments with Stade Francais, was always expected to come back into the starting halfback role after an auspicious Rugby Championship. “Genia, I thought he’s been one of our best all season,” Cheika said. “I just feel that this is a good game for him to play, come back in and get straight into it and then Nick [Phipps] will finish the game. I think Nick’s standard has definitely gone up from what I saw earlier in the year and now there’s a real competition going on there.” The unlucky man is Dean Mumm, who has been relegated to the bench for the first time since the All Blacks match in Wellington in late August. Cheika admitted he wanted to bring Mumm back in but it was more the form of Lopeti Timani at No.8 that has caused him headaches. “He’s continually making me pick him,” said Cheika of Timani. “That’s the issue – his performances have spoken for themselves. He’s been consistent and that’s all we can ask of the guy. He’s doing lots of good tight work and also when he needs to carry he’s carrying well. So I’d like to let him have an opportunity to run this form out and learn from that. “It’s a tough one. But the way we’ll arrange our finishers, we’ll have the option to play in different ways if we want to, seeing how we go early on with that formation.” The initial concern with Mumm’s absence last week was that there would be a lack of experience at lineout time, but the starting second-rowers in Adam Coleman and go-to jumper Rory Arnold well and truly papered over any supposed cracks. Although Cheika has floated the idea of moving Israel Folau into the midfield on this spring tour, such a plan has been put on ice for the moment given how well Tevita Kuridrani played at outside-centre at Principality Stadium. “He just ran harder and looked like he wanted it a bit,” Cheika said. “That’s really important and I want him to back it up, because one game doesn’t [cut it]. I want to see him improve on that performance.” Prop Tom Robertson comes in for James Slipper on the bench while Will Skelton comes onto the pine for the first time since Bledisloe game two in Wellington. The message from within Wallabies camp this week has been to “start from zero” – a warning that any overconfidence heading into the match at Murrayfield could immediately quash Australia’s chance to achieve their goal of a grand slam, even if they won’t publicly admit it.
Wallabies team to play Scotland (115)
Scott Sio, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Lopeti Timani, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Henry Speight, Hodge, Tevita rani, Dane Petty, Israel Reece Kurid- Haylett- Folau. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Nick Phipps, Quade Cooper. Sydney Morning Herald