Monday 5 December 2016

Cheika laments scrum problems as Ireland await

France 23 Australia 25

Nigel Whittaker

Published 21/11/2016 | 02:30

Australia’s Tevita Kuridrani scored a stunning try at the Stade de France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Australia’s Tevita Kuridrani scored a stunning try at the Stade de France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Michael Cheika believes Australia's preparation must be spot on as they look to solidify their disastrous scrum problems before facing a powerful Irish pack next Saturday.

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Fly-half Bernard Foley stepped up at the last minute to score 15 points as a second-string Wallabies side scraped past France, but Cheika acknowledged that they have much to work on in the coming days before meeting Joe Schmidt's men.

Australia's Tevita Kuridrani (L) scores a try during his match against France. Photo: Reuters
Australia's Tevita Kuridrani (L) scores a try during his match against France. Photo: Reuters

Foley was a late replacement for the injured Quade Cooper and scored one try, two penalties, and two conversions in a thrilling encounter at the Stade de France but Australia lost all 10 scrums over the 80 minutes.

This included three on their own feed as France feasted firstly upon a starting front-row, which had rested its settled trio, and again when the experienced faces arrived. "We were beaten in the scrum area," Cheika said.

"One key scrum we got turned over but we'll fight back. We've come a long way in the scrum and maybe the combination of tactics didn't work for us in that area. We'll get our stuff right and get ready for both games that we've got left.

"It was tough but we try to scrum a certain way and that's how we've been told we're going to scrum, which is square. You can't bind in certain places and maybe we just are doing too much of the right thing because the angles of different props that we're encountering is not how it's supposed to happen.

France's Virimi Vakatawa scores a try. Photo: Reuters
France's Virimi Vakatawa scores a try. Photo: Reuters

"It's supposed to be square scrummaging. What do you do? Sometimes that happens in a game and you've got to be resilient and get out of it, that's all there is to it."

A spectacular try by Tevita Kuridrani, a monstrous performance by skipper David Pocock, and a late missed field goal from Camille Lopez earned victory for the Wallabies, who now resume their Grand Slam bid of the home nations, last achieved in 1984, against Ireland before finishing against England.

"Our preparation for next week has to be excellent," Cheika said.

Leading 13-11 at the break, after Virimi Vakatawa cancelled out an Australian penalty try, the visitors showed their intent with the free-scoring Foley crossing three minutes into the new half.

Jean-Marc Doussain and Wesley Fofana went over for Guy Noves' side but an acrobatic touchdown from Kuridrani proved the difference. France conclude their autumn tests against world champions New Zealand and Cheika was full of praise for the French, lauding the attacking style Noves has developed since last year's Rugby World Cup.

"They are coming back to their attacking rugby," Cheika said. "If they continue like that, they will win matches playing good rugby as well. You can see the changes already, the team is really dangerous."

Irish Independent

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