Cheika open-minded about Wallabies team

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he won’t be afraid to throw uncapped players into the cauldron of a three-Test series against Six Nations champions England in June.

Cheika said on Wednesday he would consider blooding newer players if his European-based veterans were not available or fatigued at the end of a long season.

“We’ve got heaps of players looking for the opportunity and putting their hands up,” Cheika said.

Among the overseas domiciled players Cheika could look at are France-based backs Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau, who both started in last year’s World Cup final against New Zealand.

Other Wallabies incumbents who have subsequently moved to Europe and are eligible to continue representing Australia are prop Sekope Kepu, halfback Will Genia and utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Cheika recently caught up with some of his overseas-based stars on a trip to Europe, where he watched some of the Six Nations games.

“All the guys that I saw are keen to continue playing for Australia,” Cheika said on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be about, like with all players, No.1: form and then. No.2: it s about the load as well.

“Let’s see who’s playing through to June and who is in form over there so we can get the right balance for the season.

“Guys who have had a full season, it’s unlikely they will be playing in June and I think that’s a good opportunity for us to get some new players in because we’re very keen to grow the base of players that can really contribute to the team.

“The only way to do that is to give them opportunities and then after they (the overseas-based players) have had a bit of a break at the end of their season, we’ll look at selection for the Rugby Championship.”

Of the rising home-based players who could come under consideration for the England series, Cheika nominated former rugby league international and AFL player Karmichael Hunt and fellow Queensland Reds back Samu Kerevi.

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