Cheika's charges ready for All Blacks?

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:47
Large michael cheika wallabies 2017 800

REACTION: Australian coach Michael Cheika said his side were improving and would be ready to take on New Zealand in the Rugby Championship after fighting off Italy 40-27 on Saturday.

Australia's next game is against New Zealand on August 19, but Cheika was upbeat about their chances against the world champions.

The Wallabies' mentor admits there is still a lot of hard work ahead and has made fitness his main priority.

"We know there's a lot of things we need to do, but we've got to just go for the critical few [like fitness] that we can achieve over the next block of time, " Cheika said.

"From there we have to get ourselves a strategy that [allow us to] compete against them.

"We'll know a bit more after we watch them play the three-match series against the [British and Irish] Lions," he added.

The coach realised that it is indeed his responsibility to get the team to reach that impressive All Blacks' from, that have eluded the Wallabies throughout the season.

"This is my responsibility to get the team fit enough to be ready for that game," he said.

"We started in these three weeks, we'll continue it over the next few weeks, while they're playing Super Rugby.

"When we get the opportunity, we'll get them in again, along with the skill work that we want to do, we'll roast the fire a little bit more on getting them up to the level we think is needed to be competitive from a fitness point of view.

"It's a key element to staying in the game - we’ve got to play for 80 and you've got to play hard for 80,"