No shortcuts for Wallabies

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 11:47

INTERVIEW: Wallaby coach Michael Cheika clearly believes in the hare and tortoise philosophy.

Cheika, speaking after naming a 33-man squad for the Rugby Championship, said he is prepared to take the slower route to the top.

He will not be taking any shortcuts as the Australia look to close the gap on the world's top-ranked side, New Zealand - who Cheika believes is still improving.

The new face at Wallaby training in Sydney this week has been recently appointed national skills coach Michael Byrne.

Byrne filled a similar role with the All Blacks for 11 years.

Cheika was somewhat taken aback on Friday by the suggestion he should tap into Byrne's knowledge of New Zealand, heading into Australia's opening Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup contest later this month.

In an interview on Cheika said: "I'm not the type of guy who is going to go and ask Mick: 'What do New Zealand do in this situation?'

"Because I think maybe it's cheap, That's not why we want Mick to come over.

"We wanted Mick to come over and coach with us, because he's brilliant at helping develop skills.

"I'm not looking to take the lift, we want to take the stairs, We want to work hard and earn anything we can get against our opponent."

The Wallaby coach said he had watched snippets of the Kiwis this season but already seen differences ahead of the opening Bledisloe.

"I think they've shown that they're looking to play the game with a lot of speed and a lot of intensity and a lot of offloading, which is probably just a slight step up," he said.

"They've moved on a few issues and improved their game, no doubt."

As for how a newly evolved All Blacks side might look in the first Bledisloe, Cheika said this weekend's Super Rugby Final between the Lions and Hurricanes might be telling.

However, he said while it had helped to have so many players together for so long following Australia's poor Super Rugby showing, that had to be balanced against the advantage of high-level match play New Zealanders and South Africans were still getting.

"If you look at the way we are setting ourselves up now, we're having to do probably other things to replace that game practice around our fitness training," he said.