Australia reset to zero for Ireland

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 11:40

REACTION: Australia will "reset to zero" for next weekend's Test against Ireland, coach Michael Cheika vowed after seeing his Wallaby team edge France in a thriller.

The Wallabies are unbeaten on their November tour, having seen off Wales (32-8), Scotland (23-22) and now France (25-23).

Ireland upset the form books in their opening end-of-year game when they registered a first-ever victory over New Zealand in Chicago before beating Canada 52-21 but going down 9-21 to the All Blacks on Saturday.

After the Irish game, Australia travel to Twickenham where they face England and, depending on the result in Dublin, potentially a first decider of a Grand Slam of Home Nations since 1984.

"The 3-0 [wins for losses] scorecard doesn't matter, it resets to zero," Cheika said, with a 'B' team also to play the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on Thursday.

"I'm banking on us learning from the Wales week to the Scotland match, perhaps not resetting to zero like we should have.

"Our preparation next week has to be excellent.

"The Irish Test will be the biggest test we encounter here. It's a great place to play rugby."

Cheika, who guided Leinster to European glory in 2009 during his 2005-10 tenure as coach of the Irish province, added: "What happens before doesn't count. We've just got to keep looking forward.

"You can't change your tune because you've had a few wins and you're at the front of the bus now.

"You've got to keep saying that's not relevant. Let's take what we can from the game, reset to zero and prepare the best we possibly can for the Irish game and then see what happens."

Turning to the nail-biting victory over the French, Cheika said the scrum would need some work while praising the contribution of stand-in skipper David Pocock.

"We all know what David brings... he played as a leader and captain," Cheika said.

"And that inspires other players around him and it certainly inspires me watching him in the game when you see a leader take it on like that.

"Full credit to him because he was one of the players that was retained in the team, he knew he had a job to do and he took it on with both hands."

Turning to the set piece, Cheika said: "We said at half-time to try to find a solution to the scrum issues so we could keep that contest alive, but I suppose our strategy is to scrum solid, try and dominate the opposition and get good front foot ball, not just get the ball out," he said.

"We'll get our stuff right and get ready for both games that we’ve got next week."

Pocock added: "It was tough up front, but I'm really proud of our performance.

"There were a number of players with their first starts so that's really pleasing."

Agence France-Presse