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 rugby.com.au.

"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."

Source: rugby.com.au

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 19 February 2017
Sale Sharks v Wasps 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 15h00 Kingston Park
Mon, 20 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 14h45 Bloemfontein
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 16h30 Stellenbosch
UWC v Rhodes 16h30 Cape Town
TUT v WSU 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Potchefstroom
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
UJ v UP-Tuks 17h00 Johannesburg
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 30
Australia 6 3 0 3 14
South Africa 6 2 0 4 10
Argentina 6 1 0 5 5