The Wallabies were far from their best in Padova but were able to run in four tries – two coming from Marika Koroibete – while showing some resolute defending to keep Italy at bay.
It was only the third win in 12 Tests for Australia this year, but Cheika felt there were aspects that showed signs of progression, the coach particularly impressed with the defensive play.
Next up for Australia is a trip to Twickenham and a meeting with Cheika’s old adversary Eddie Jones, and the Wallabies head coach is relishing the contest.
“I enjoyed it, it was physical,” he told reporters. “Defensively I thought we were really good, we got up and looked like we were enjoying our defence.
“The Italians brought a lot of physical ball carrying, they’ve got big back-rowers, they carry the ball hard, and we looked good.
FT l We have defeated @Federugby 26-7 here at Stadio Euganeo.
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) November 17, 2018
“We created a few things in attack, we had a couple of chances we could have been slicker on with our finishing but where we are right now we’ve just got to keep grinding, keep at it, do the things we know that we we’ve been working on to do well, and keep bringing it.
“There was a lot about that win, considering the situation of the season, that I was very pleased about.
“Now we have to look to see what we need next week. We love going to Twickenham, love the crowd hating us, so let’s get it on!”
Australia will hope for positive news on the fitness of David Pocock after he was injured during the second half.
“I don’t know [the severity of the injury] yet,” Cheika added. “He’s obviously got a pretty nasty stinger on his neck [and] it was giving him pain down his arm.
“We’ll just see what happens and see how he recovers in the next couple of days.”
In other news:
Watch the Heineken Champions Cup Final live on RugbyPass throughout Asia and Australia.