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Michael Cheika not thinking about England after Australia beat Uruguay

Published 27/09/2015

Australia head coach Michael Cheika is not thinking about England
Australia head coach Michael Cheika is not thinking about England

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has refused to stoke the fires of controversy ahead of an anticipated titantic World Cup tussle with England.

The Wallabies beat Uruguay 65-3 at Villa Park in Birmingham to join Wales on nine points in Pool A, where England sit third and are in danger of exiting their own tournament if they lose to Australia at Twickenham next Saturday.

Cheika, though, is concentrating solely on his side after an 11-try romp over the South American minnows in Birmingham. It is a departure from oft-outspoken comments from Australian sportspeople about Englishmen.

"I know what I think. England are the home team, so they're going to be the favourites," Cheika said.

"It's a tough place to win. That part is pretty straightforward."

The former Leinster boss paid little attention to England's defeat to Wales on Saturday and the impact on the Wallabies, who have lost on their last two visits to Twickenham.

"I don't even think about that stuff," Cheika added.

"I don't know how they'll be. That's their business. We are going to have to improve some of the pieces of our game, so we can get to the standards we need to be at for the game on Saturday and we're going to be working hard on our improvements.

"Our plan is not to have to scrounge through (to the quarter-finals).

"We've got to play well every game and let the results speak for themselves. We're not sitting in front of the TV barracking after one team or another.

"We're going to have to improve on the first two matches against England."

Cheika, whose side missed out on a bonus point in their opening win over Fiji, is relatively new to the international arena after a period of scandal and introspection for the Wallabies.

"I don't think I'm in the right position to be putting a critique on any other team in the competition except my own. I'm a bit of a novice around this," he added.

"My focus is squarely on the Australian team."

'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' was sung by the Villa Park crowd as a reminder of what is to come for Australia, whose tries came from Ben McCalman, Drew Mitchell, Sean McMahon (all two), Joseph Tomane, captain Dean Mumm, Henry Speight, Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani.

Quade Cooper was successful with five from 11 kicks at goal and was sin-binned after 15 minutes after needlessly man-handling Uruguay scrum-half Agustin Ormaechea.

On this evidence - and despite some sublime skill in attack - the enigmatic fly-half is unlikely to be trusted for the big games to come.

But the Wallabies will appeal the yellow card.

"We felt the hit was across the shoulder and there was no intent," Cheika said.

"In the heat of the moment it's a fine line. We'll probably appeal that yellow card."

Cheika was planning to study the match on Sunday evening to shape his selection for Wales and has another flanker in contention alongside David Pocock and Michael Hooper in McMahon.

"There's a few players that definitely put their hands up for selection," Cheika said.

"It's getting a bit ridiculous. Every man of the match we're having is seven or eight.

"We've got some pretty influential players in those positions, but as long as he (McMahon) is there rattling their cage, that'll keep them honest."

Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine was pleased to have the support of neutrals in the crowd, "particularly the English - they forgot about the football World Cup and were supporting us here".

He said: "I feel really proud of the players. They tried all the game, especially they tried to score tries.

"I know it's difficult to understand after 50 points the coach saying it's a good performance, but for me I feel proud."

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