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Rona's form a Super Rugby positive: Cheika

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/03/2017 Adrian Warren

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika isn't happy with the early-season form of the Australian Super Rugby teams, but has identified former NRL star Curtis Rona as one player making an impact.

Cheika brought up New Zealander Rona's name when asked about which emerging players had caught his eye over the first two rounds.

The former Bulldogs NRL back has created a big impression at outside centre for the Force and prompted Cheika to compare him to Auckland-born former Souths NRL forward Ben Te'o who is playing in the centres for the England rugby team.

"I've liked what Rona has bought so far, I think it's been good," Cheika said.

"I always thought Rona was going to do well.

"I think he'll need a bit of time, but think he'll be very similar to how Ben Te'o has gone for England.

"He's a big player, a good defender, he's got a fair bit of aggression."

Waitara-born Rona, 24, went on the 2015 Kiwis tour to Great Britain.

He wasn't selected for the first two matches against England, before returning home to see the birth of his daughter.

Meanwhile, Cheika has cautioned against making making hasty judgements after the Australian teams' poor start to the Super Rugby season.

He says it will take more like a month to accurately track each team's progress.

"If anyone saw the 'Canes in week one of last season they wouldn't have thought they were going to go on to win Super Rugby in 2016," Cheika said, referring to the Hurricanes opening 52-10 loss to the Brumbies last year.

"Let's wait three or four weeks to do it properly, but obviously we woudn't be happy with some of the results of the (Australian) teams."

Cheika felt the current much-debated Super format could be improved even with five Australian teams, but felt a mooted trans-Tasman competition wasn't the answer.

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