Wallabies back Cheika’s game plan

Wallabies players are backing coach Michael Cheika’s fierce determination to persist with his ball-in-hand game plan despite consecutive Test losses to England.

Cheika has indicated he will make only a couple of changes on Thursday when he names his team to attempt to stave off a series sweep by England in the third Test at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

While the Wallabies’ running game worked brilliantly for the first 20 minutes of the series in Brisbane, they have struggled to crack England since.

Their only try in the second Test loss in Melbourne came from a well-executed forward drive despite a huge possession advantage, and the situation seemed to call for a more varied attack and cooler heads.

Vice-captain and winger Rob Horne said the Wallabies had let themselves down over the first two Tests.

But he insisted they could turn things around without changing tack drastically against wily England coach Eddie Jones’ more defensive strategies.

“We know how we want to play,” Horne said.

“What are we going to do differently? We’re going to do it better.

“We are who we are, we know what inspires Australians to support rugby.

“When we do it well, as you know, it’s pretty good to watch and we can really put away teams.

“We’re not a 10-man rugby team. We’re not going to put up a high ball and run and everyone chase and see what happen.

“We’re a team that want to take control of the game and take control of our own destiny.”

Cheika has given little away about team changes but could opt for a midfield shake up to bring in either Matt Toomua or Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre to take some playmaking pressure off five eighth Bernard Foley.

Halfback Nick Phipps’ sometimes slow and erratic service in Melbourne has been criticised.

It would be a brave call to stick with the relatively small and light backrow of Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy and Sean McMahon and the coach could opt to start with a bigger No.8 like Leroy Houston or Wycliff Palu with McMahon to provide impact from the bench.

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