Michael Cheika (Getty Images)
London - Knocking England out of Rugby
World Cup contention is only a secondary consideration for Wallabies coach
After announcing Australia's starting line-up
for Saturday's crucial Pool A match at Twickenham, Cheika was asked if narrow
losses to the English in the 2003 final and the 1995 and 2007 quarterfinals
provided any extra motivation for the Wallabies. After a loss to Wales, England
must beat the Australians or risk an early exit from the tournament it is
"It's the wrong reason to be playing
for, mate," Cheika said. "Like, if you're playing for that reason,
then you haven't got a real reason of why you want to do it yourself.
"Those other things are superficial
because they dissipate very quickly when there's 82 000 English people
screaming against you in the stadium."
Australia has won the Rugby World Cup both
times it has been staged in Britain - beating England in the 1991 final at
Twickenham and France in the 1999 final in Cardiff - and Cheika said he's
treating every game like a final in a bid to continue that sequence.
The Wallabies kicked off their campaign
with a 28-13 win over Fiji in Cardiff, five days after England opened the
tournament with a bonus-point win over the Fijians at Twickenham.
Australia's second-string line-up beat
Uruguay 65-3 in Birmingham on Sunday, a day after England lost 28-25 to Wales.
As expected, Cheika reverted to the
starting XV from Australia's opening game. He delayed a decision on the
composition of his reserves bench.
Most of the focus is on Australia's
backrow, where Cheika again opted to start David Pocock at No 8 and
vice-captain Michael Hooper on the openside flank.
Pocock and Hooper are noted fetchers and
No. 7s, giving Australia potential for quick turnover ball at the breakdown,
but including both means the Wallabies will give up a considerable size
advantage to England.
It doesn't bother Cheika, who said he had
selected his backrow for its combination and the way the loose forwards - along
with blindside flanker Scott Fardy - play complementary roles.
Criticism of the Wallabies scrum, widely
perceived as the team's biggest weakness in recent losses to England, doesn't
concern him, either.
"I know they think we're weak in the
forwards. It's pretty obvious - they're saying it out loud," Cheika said,
adding that the only place the Australian pack could prove itself was on the
field. "We've got to show our colours. Talk is cheap."