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Cheika mulls Foley's best position

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5 days ago Adrian Warren

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will decide by the end of this year whether to persist with Bernard Foley as a fulltime second five-eighth.

The playmaking roles along with the lock spots have been major areas of contention this year, with Cheika calling for his second rowers to stand up and be counted in Saturday's Test against the All Blacks in Auckland.

Foley started the season at first five-eighth but has played the last five Tests in the No.12 jersey since Quade Cooper was recalled at No.10 for the second Bledisloe Cup Test in August.

With Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano and Rob Horne unavailable Foley was pressed into service at inside centre.

Australia have a 3-2 record since resorting to the Cooper-Foley playmaking combination and they appear to be growing in confidence after a tentative start.

With Saturday's Eden Park clash followed by five Tests on the spring tour, Cheika is prepared to wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to keep Foley at 12 or switch him back to 10.

Cheika said the Wallabies had shown more attacking shape in addition to better work rate in defence in recent games.

While Cheika was happy with his efforts in the unfamiliar position, he stressed Foley still had scope for improvement.

"I think he's done a good job considering he's playing well out of position," Cheika said.

"I still think that he's got improvement in him in that position and we'll have to work hard on him because that's obviously a pivotal position he's playing, the second playmaker."

Cheika has shuffled his locks around more than any other area of his side this year and made it clear he wanted more from his big men.

"I don't think I'll be talking out of school by saying those guys have been inconsistent in that area and I want them to be consistent," Cheika said.

"I want therm to bring a bit more in the game, that's the engine room of the game."

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