Wallabies need to be fitter: Cheika

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Wallabies need to be fitter: Cheika

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says his players need to be fitter and warned against placing too much emphasis on the imminent return of some of his veteran stars.

Australia have lost four Tests in a row heading into the Rugby Championship in August, when they will come up against the other three semi-finalists from last year’s World Cup.

“If we want to play this much footy, we’ve got to be a little fitter,” Cheika said.

Although committed to a running style of game, Cheika will review their kicking component.

“They (England)just kicked more and we should maybe kick a bit more,” Cheika said.

“We’ll have a look at that, or pick the times that we need to kick.”

Lock Rob Simmons suffered a Grade 2 AC injury to his right shoulder on Saturday night and could be sidelined for one to four weeks.

Cheika suggested he needed to tweak things rather than make any major overhaul.

“They’re only small things, it’s not like there’s a massive issue,” he said.

“We’ve played a lot of footy with a relatively new team, half the starters that weren’t there in the World cup final.

There’s over 11 players from that World Cup squad that are different in this 30-odd.”

Several overseas-based backs Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Will Genia will be back for the Rugby Championship.

“But I don’t want it to be about ‘oh we need to have those guys,'” Cheika said.

“I’ve always said we need to have a bigger squad of players that can make the difference.

“I do think we’ve uncovered three or four new guys this year who can definitely make a difference.

“Add those in to what we’ve already got, then a few others coming online later on like (Sefanaia) Naivalu when he qualifies and (Marika) Koroibete when he comes over (from rugby league).

“We’ll start building the depth we need in several positions, But that’s running in the background.

“The key thing is getting each day (right) and that’s something that we haven’t done.”

Matt Toomua’s impressive return at inside centre confirmed Cheika’s feeling that he was best off utilising a dual playmaker system in midfield

Injures to Toomua and Kurtley Beale, the unavailability of Giteau and Christian Lealifano’s interrupted preparation before the series started deprived Cheika of several playmaking options.

Cheika said being whitewashed wasn’t a shock to his system, as he had been under no illusions about the task his side faced.

“I knew exactly what we were in for this series, never had a doubt that it was going to be tough,” Cheika said.

He thought however the whitewash might have shocked his players.

“Not from the point of view of ‘we’re going to win the series’, shocked because it’s hard to lose at home,” Cheika said.

“That’s more a question that leans to ‘were we over-confident in some type of way’? I don’t think so.”

Cheika blooded five uncapped men against England and nominated one of them, winger Dane Haylett-Petty, as the Wallabies standout player of the series.

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