Michael Cheika is happy to keep shuffling his cards ahead of September’s World Cup, admitting he would’ve liked to have made even more than five changes to the Wallabies’ starting side to play Argentina on Saturday.
The Brisbane Test will be an audition of sorts for five-eighth Christian Lealiifano and utility back James O’Connor, who will return from three and six years respectively in the international wilderness.
Kurtley Beale’s shift to fullback, after Tom Banks occupied the role in South Africa, is another one to watch while Tevita Kuridrani will be keen to repay the faith after he was retained at outside centre in a run-first pairing with No.12 Samu Kerevi.
Marika Koroibete returns to the wing while Will Genia will start in the No.9 at Suncorp Stadium in an almost entirely different backline to the one that let an opportunity slip in Johannesburg.
Australia have just four more opportunities to iron out the wrinkles ahead of their World Cup opener against Fiji, but the coach isn’t feeling rushed to settle on his best side.
“We want to have a look around … we’ve got a bit of a plan we want to follow on selections and what the strategy is (before the World Cup),” Cheika said.
“It’s only logical now that we would use this opportunity to give everyone a chance to play footy.
“When it all boils down to it, the view is to go out and perform on Saturday night and win the Test match.”
Cheika admitted that the near misses in previous Tests had been costly but the coach is adamant they are trending in the right direction for the pinnacle event in Japan.
“Making opportunities isn’t good enough, taking them is what it’s about” he said.
“We’ve just got to understand the momentum of the game, when we’ve got the flow and it’s happening to have a real go at it … show our hand.
“But when momentum might be against us, maybe that’s the bit we need to understand to be better at.
“That’s probably the thing we need to work on the most … and translate those opportunities into points.”
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