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Cheika tips Burgess for World Cup


Michael Cheika reckons Sam Burgess, pictured, has what it takes to make it to the World Cup

Michael Cheika reckons Sam Burgess, pictured, has what it takes to make it to the World Cup

Michael Cheika reckons Sam Burgess, pictured, has what it takes to make it to the World Cup

Australia head coach Michael Cheika views next year's World Cup as a realistic target for Sam Burgess.

Burgess was officially unveiled by Aviva Premiership club Bath on Thursday afternoon after completing a high-profile switch from rugby league.

The 25-year-old's union debut has been delayed by the fractured cheekbone and eye socket suffered in the NRL Grand Final earlier this month, but Cheika predicts he will make a seamless transition once fit.

"I've been fortunate enough to have a bit to do with Sam back in Australia and he's a very good player," Cheika said.

"His enthusiasm and passion for the game is going to far and away supersede any issues he will have with knowledge and learning the game.

"If any player can make the World Cup from a zero base in the time he has, then he can.

"It's his hunger to learn and his individual skills that set him apart."

Cheika has named his first Wallabies team since replacing Ewen McKenzie as head coach last week with Quade Cooper and Will Genia reunited at half-back for Saturday's European tour opener against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

The NSW Waratahs coach outlined his plan to reselect the XV defeated 29-28 by New Zealand almost two weeks ago for the Test against Wales on November 8 in the belief they deserve another chance.

Australia were edged with just seconds of the Bledisloe Cup match to go despite the turmoil that had engulfed the squad after Kurtley Beale sent an obscene text to team business manager Di Patston, who subsequently resigned.

Cheika believes the display against the All Blacks is proof the Wallabies' spirit remains high despite recent events.

"If you look at the last performance against New Zealand, although it was a loss the lads played pretty well," Cheika said.

"There was a lot of controversy and things that weren't rugby-related going on.

"You can never be happy to lose, but considering what was going on they did well.

"That's a good signal of where the team's spirit is at. We can build on that. It's not complete, but we can keep building on that."

Cheika has experienced a whirlwind 10 days since being given a three-year contract to lead the Wallabies.

"It's been hectic. I was only sitting on my couch last week - I wasn't planning on screaming and yelling at guys in training! It's been good," he said.

"We like to spring a few surprises and have a laugh, keep the players on their toes.

"We want the attitude of being able to switch on and switch off at key moments."