Wallabies boost scrum for Pumas
Wallabies boost scrum for PumasSHARE
The Wallabies bolstered their tight five options ahead of a scrummaging Test against the Argentina Pumas in Perth. Alaalatoa was injured in the Wallabies' 23-17 win over South Africa in Brisbane, which broke a six-Test losing run and eased mounting pressure on Cheika.
Alaalatoa wore a brace on his left knee and did not travel with the squad to Perth for Saturday's Test against the Pumas. Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey said Alaalatoa's injury was disappointing, given his progress this year.
"It's unfortunate but it's good to have those guys ready to roll. He's been among a number of the new guys who have come into the Wallaby setup and really performed well. That's what we want from all the guys coming in, to deliver their strengths and I think our scrum was very consistent last night and quite dominant.
"Having those new blokes at the forefront of that is critical," Grey told reporters in Brisbane.
Cheika was a relieved man after Australia clawed back from 3-14 down early in the Test before overhauling the Springboks for their first win in this year's Rugby Championship after two heavy defeats to New Zealand.
"We've been getting a fair bit of heat and everyone stayed really solid. No one's looked sideways. We've got stuck in, enjoyed our training, trained hard and we'll continue to do that no matter what," Cheika said.
Wallabies captain and hooker Stephen Moore said the feeling was one of pride rather than relief after their first home win of the season.
"I suppose a bit of relief but I think just proud of the team and everyone involved with the team because it's been tough. There's been plenty of people outside the group giving their two bob on everything and I think I'm just really proud the way that everyone's hung tight and worked hard and kept preparing as best they possibly can.
"Of course it's nice at the end of the week to get a result like that. The way we've stuck at it throughout the campaign is probably the most pleasing thing when it's been tough," Moore said.
Cheika has raised the likelihood of more players making their international debuts before the November tour to Europe.
"We've got a lot of young guys and we've got to get them the experience they need. There'll probably be a couple more [playing] before the Rugby Championship is out, as well, so we've got to get them up a level," Cheika added.