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Scrum work required for Wallabies

Michael Cheika has admitted Australia have 10 months to improve the reputation of their scrum or face a World Cup walloping against England next year.

England demolished Australia's scrum to triumph 26-17 at Twickenham on Saturday, closing off their autumn campaign with a much-needed victory.

Australia's buckling set-piece gifted England the win on the day and a psychological edge for the World Cup Pool A rematch on Saturday, October 3 next year.

Cheika admitted Australia must find a smarter scrum strategy, but also questioned refereeing "interpretations"; a clear parting shot designed to boost the Wallabies' chances of set-piece parity on that World Cup Twickenham return.

"We have to improve our scrum reputation if we are going to get the rub of the green on those interpretation calls," said Cheika.

"We need to change some things, technique and strategy; perhaps a bit more wheeling or something because that seems to be accepted.

"Perhaps we are just a little bit too honest in the scrum. There are some personnel we are going to look at as well, the lads are well aware of that.

"You know England have a strong scrum and they've got a good reputation.

"Some scrums we weren't good enough, out and out, and some scrums were definitely open to interpretation.

"Because they have a good reputation, we have to improve ours if we are going to get the rub of the green on those interpretation calls."

Australia slipped to their worst European tour record since 2005 with their third-straight defeat on Saturday, leaving Cheika to "weather the storm" as he had pledged before the clash.

The Waratahs head coach replaced Ewen McKenzie just days before jumping on the plan for this five-match northern hemisphere tour, and still regards his Wallabies regime as a work in progress.

The 47-year-old has solved the off-field unrest that sparked McKenzie's resignation and the departure of business manager Di Patston.

Unruly utility back Kurtley Beale has also been rehabilitated into the Wallabies fold after his fine and ban for sending Patston a lewd text message.

A harmonious squad has taken some building, but Cheika fully accepts he has his work cut out to bring a Wallabies side with genuine World Cup promise back to Twickenham in 10 months' time.

The former Leinster and Stade Francais coach remains adamant he can build a "truly competitive" outfit by the time the 2015 global tournament swings around.

Cheika conceded next year's Rugby Championship will be the World Cup proving ground for his side's scrum, and the Wallabies' ability to cope with northern hemisphere tactics.

"We've got to learn because of teams in our World Cup group in particular, dealing with the scrum and 'bombs', and the mauling stuff.

"We've got to learn about that in the Rugby Championship because that will be a chance to influence the impression about the team.

"There are some clear messages to sort out but if we do that we will be well and truly competitive."


From Belfast Telegraph