Rugby Championship

Wallabies boost scrum for Pumas challenge

2016-09-11 21:18
Wallaby coach Michael Cheika (Gallo Images)

Brisbane - The Wallabies, lifted by an overdue victory, bolstered their tight five options on Sunday ahead of next weekend's scrummaging Test against the Argentina Pumas in Perth.

Coach Michael Cheika called props Toby Smith and Tom Robertson into his Rugby Championship squad following news that front-rower Allan Alaalatoa was out with a knee injury.

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 as he returned home on Sunday 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," Grey told reporters in Brisbane.

"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 is 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."

Cheika was a relieved man after Australia clawed back from 14-3 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," Cheika told reporters after Saturday's victory.

"We've got stuck in, enjoyed our training, trained hard and we'll continue to do that no matter what."

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," he told reporters.

"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."

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," he said.

"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."

Read more on:    pumas  |  wallabies  |  rugby championship  |  rugby


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