Rugby

Wallabies in no hurry to replace axed Larkham

2019-04-07 10:57
Stephen Larkham (Getty Images)

Sydney - Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he is in no hurry to appoint a new attack coach after Stephen Larkham was axed, and suggested the team has some cards up their sleeve heading into the Rugby World Cup.

Larkham was dumped in early February after disagreements with Cheika over strategy and game philosophy following a wretched 2018 in which Australia won just four of their 13 Tests.

Reports last week said Scott Wisemantel, who is working with Eddie Jones at England, had been targeted as a replacement, but Cheika said those being considered were "in Australia".

"There's no major hurry, we're not training yet are we?," he told Fox Sports on Saturday evening.

"There's a few things that I want to unfold first and I probably reckon about May sometime in the lead-up to another camp.

"I've got a few people in mind," he added.

"I'm not going to tell you that because the people don't know. They're in Australia."

Fox said Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson - Cheika's former New South Wales assistant - was a potential short-term option for the World Cup, while Wallabies great Matt Giteau has also been linked to the role.

"The person we bring in will be someone I think that will be with the players, on field a lot, not build a lot of strategy, more getting players to embrace strategy and understand it so it's automatic on the field," said Cheika.

The two-time world champions, who made the 2015 final, will head to the tournament in Japan this year with few giving them much chance after their poor season last year.

But Cheika suggested the Wallabies could have some surprises in store.

"Maybe you want to turn up this year with something a little bit different," he said.

"I'm not saying that we're going to do that but maybe we will. Some different things around the way we play."

One area he could be looking at is whether to start with both Michael Hooper and David Pocock.

The combination has been a point of contention, with Australia's lineout often exposed when both start and Pocock generally plays out of position at No 8.

"I think this year we've certainly got some other options around the backrow," Cheika said.

"I think sometimes having (Hooper and Pocock) playing together will be really useful and sometimes, having one coming off the bench will be really damaging as well."

He also has to decide where best to play his versatile backs, particularly Super Rugby's record try-scorer Israel Folau - in his usual fullback role or outside centre.

 

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