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Michael Cheika to stick with winning formula


Michael Cheika to stick with winning formula

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is happy with the performances of Kurtley Beale and Matt Toomua and will look to use the pairing as the Rugby Championship progresses.

Cheika made the call to move Beale into first five-eighth in favour of Bernard Foley and reaped the rewards with a 23-18 victory over South Africa in Brisbane. Matt Toomua played outside in Beale’s regular No. 12 jersey. It was the first time Foley hadn’t started in 51 Tests.

Asked whether he would stick with the winning pair of Beale and Toomua Cheika said “Yeah, I definitely think they did a good job out there in some difficult circumstances.”

“They had some nice plays set up that just didn’t come up but that’s the first week they’ve played together. I think Bernard went quite well when he came on the field and that’s exactly what we want. We want to have competition for those spots.”

Beale told Fox Sports there was still plenty to work on despite the win.

“We’re working really hard on those combinations,” Beale said post-match. “Tonight the conditions didn’t really help with the dewy ball but I think our forwards stepped up and delivered a really solid platform for us to get the win.”

Toomua, in his first start for the Wallabies since June 2016, said “it was just great to be out there. It’s been a few hard weeks for us, a bit of soul searching here and there, so we’ll enjoy that and then get back on the horse.”

The Wallabies pulled of the win without stars Israel Folau and David Pocock who were both late scratches from Saturday’s lineup. Folau failed to overcome an ankle injury suffered in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney, while Pocock is battling a neck injury.

“I thought he [Folau] was going to play this week,” Cheika said. “I’m certainly not going to say he’s going to be there next week. I’m going to see how the week pans out prepare accordingly. I don’t think he’d be too far away.”

Of Pocock’s neck injury Cheika said “He’s still got a fair bit of neck stiffness. He’s the ultimate pro, Pocock. He’ll be doing everything he can to be back.”

The Wallabies’ next fixture will see them host Argentina on the Gold Coast next weekend.

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Michael Cheika to stick with winning formula