Scottish remedy for Izzy heights
THE Wallabies could sink to sixth in the world rankings tomorrow and coach Michael Cheika will be dropping players for Saturday’s clash against Italy after substandard efforts allowed Scotland to beat them 24-19 yesterday.
Ranked third heading into this weekend’s match, Australia are set to be overtaken by Ireland, Scotland and South Africa, their lowest ranking since early 2015, after which they produced a memorable World Cup campaign to reach the final.
Cheika is hoping for a similar turnaround this year and will start by axing underperforming players.
He’d planned a block of five games — the three June Tests and the opening two Bledisloe Cup clashes against the All Blacks in August — but said keeping new combinations together was not his priority now.
Instead, we’ll discover just who Cheika thought was “half a yard off the game” when he announces his team on Thursday to play Italy in Brisbane.
“The first thing, when it comes to game time, is getting your mindset right so you’re upfront and you’re at the contest first, and that’s more important than combinations, it’s more important than anything,” Cheika said.
Cheika forecast changes to his side for Italy.
“I’d say so, I’d say there’d be a few,” he said. “It’s about being more urgent to the game, will- ing the game more, you’ve got to make it happen — it’s not just going to happen for you.”
Cheika was clearly exasperated that the intent shown at training this week did not translate to the match against a valiant Scottish side.
“You don’t win at training, you win at the game, you’ve got to come to the game with your attitude on and again, we weren’t off completely, we were just a little bit behind the pace we needed to set to win the game,” he said.
The Wallabies blew numerous late chances as Scotland earned revenge and put another black mark on Australian rugby this year.
After successive one-point defeats to Australia, Scotland withstood a barrage of late attacking raids by the Wallabies to claim a memorable victory.
The loss has compounded Australia’s woes, with disappointing Super Rugby results and the drawn out SANZAAR saga to cull three teams already creating a negative vibe around the game.
That didn’t stop 30,721 fans turning up, but most left bitterly disappointed.
Israel Folau of the Wallabies flies high over Greig Tonks of Scotland to score one of his two tries. Picture: Getty Images