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Australia head coach Michael Cheika wary of Wales threat on Saturday

Published 03/11/2016

David Pocock will line up at blindside flanker for Australia against Wales on Saturday
David Pocock will line up at blindside flanker for Australia against Wales on Saturday

Michael Cheika does not believe that Australia's long winning run against Wales is relevant going into their Principality Stadium meeting on Saturday.

The Wallabies have reeled off 11 successive wins at Wales' expense, and not lost in the fixture since 2008.

But Australia head coach Cheika said: "I don't know if anyone is thinking about 12 in a row at a time when we have not won as many games as we should have this year.

"It has not popped up on anyone's radar.

"All that stuff is the past. It gives you nothing on Saturday, and it gives them (Wales) nothing. It is the two teams on match day putting what they consider to be their best rugby forward.

"The better team will win, and that is what it boils down to. The other stuff is nice fluff around the outside.

"You have got to think about what is next, not what is behind you. That is what we are doing."

David Pocock will play at blindside flanker for the first time in his distinguished Test career on Saturday. Pocock, who has won more than 60 caps in the Wallabies back-row, takes over from a suspended Dean Mumm.

It will be Pocock's first start since he broke his hand during a 36-20 victory over Argentina in mid-September, and he packs down alongside Michael Hooper and number eight Lopeti Timani.

Centre Tevita Kuridrani joins Pocock as the only other change following Australia's defeat to New Zealand in Auckland last time out. Kuridrani replaces an injured Samu Kerevi, with Cheika having resisted any temptation to switch full-back Israel Folau into midfield.

Reflecting on his changed role, Pocock said: "There is a bit of detail to learn, and it is exciting to be back out there.

"I do not think I have played at six before. It is a challenge for me and Hoops (Michael Hooper) to work it out, and we have done a bit in the last couple of days."

Wales also go into battle with a rejigged back-row - Sam Warburton and Taulupe Faletau are missing this weekend - but Cheika added: "The players they have got are of high quality.

"If Warburton is not there, (Justin) Tipuric is in any other national team. He is a quality openside, and (Ross) Moriarty is a dynamic player, a handful, and (Dan) Lydiate has form on the board as a strong defender.

"It is a complementary back-row. The two set-ups are different, and it will be a very interesting part of the game."

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