Cheika mulls No.8 options

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 09:27
Large michael cheika confused 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika will have the perfect opportunity to test different back row combinations over the next two weeks.

Cheika's loose forward configurations during the Rugby Championship has been a big talking point with many feeling that the Aussies were lacking some balance in the back row.

David Pocock and Michael Hooper are similar players and both play to the ball at the breakdowns for the Aussies. However, with Pocock, who has been playing in the No.8 jersey for the past season, out for the rest of the Rugby Championship with a fractured hand, Cheika has an opportunity to establish more versatility in the back row.

Rebels' Sean McMahon has been given an opportunity at No.8 for the Wallabies this year and he is likely to be the first choice to stand in for Pocock over the next two weekends.

"If we look non-traditional, like we've been running with, his ready replacement…[is] Sean McMahon, [he's] slightly different, very strong running player," Cheika told

"He took the spot the other day, he's been knocking on the door for quite a while."

Newcomer Lopeti Timani is another option for that No.8 jersey and Cheika said he will be considering different combinations with the players that will be available to him.

"There's a few guys starting to, younger guys that are coming into the picture that can provide that and maybe a couple of older guys coming back [you never know] that have the more traditional jumping, running, link man.

"We want to be able to have both options, so there's `going to be a few different options tried out over there." Cheika added.

Cheika also maintained that Pocock will still play an important role on their end of year tour, but he also hinted that might be experiment with some of his options against the likes of Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and England.

"He'll [Pocock] still have an opportunity to play in that jersey or even in the seven jersey maybe," said Cheika.

"We've always wanted to have both options so we've got to make sure we’ve got the two ways to play.

"Ben McCalman's not on this trip [to Argentina and South Africa] and he's got some work ons. If he gets those right, he could be right in there as well."


There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0