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Wallabies need to be fitter: Cheika

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/06/2016 Adrian Warren

Coach Michael Cheika © Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Barbarians Coach Michael Cheika Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says his players need to be fitter and warned against placing too much emphasis on the imminent return of some of his veteran stars.

Australia have lost four Tests in a row heading into the Rugby Championship, when they will come up against the other three semi-finalists from last year's World Cup, starting with New Zealand in Sydney on August 20.

"If we want to play this much footy, we've got to be a little fitter," Cheika said.

Although committed to a running style of game, Cheika will review their kicking component.

"They (England) just kicked more and we should maybe kick a bit more. We'll have a look at that, or pick the times that we need to kick."

Several overseas-based backs Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Will Genia will be back for the Rugby Championship.

"But I don't want it to be about 'oh we need to have those guys,'" Cheika said.

"I've always said we need to have a bigger squad of players that can make the difference.

"I do think we've uncovered three or four new guys this year who can definitely make a difference.

Matt Toomua's impressive return at second five-eighth confirmed Cheika's feeling that he was best off utilising a dual playmaker system in midfield.

Injures to Toomua and Kurtley Beale, the unavailability of Giteau and Christian Lealifano's interrupted preparation before the series started deprived Cheika of several playmaking options.

Cheika said being whitewashed wasn't a shock to his system, as he had been under no illusions about the task his side faced.

Cheika blooded five uncapped men against England and nominated one of them, winger Dane Haylett-Petty, as the Wallabies' standout player of the series.

Lock Rob Simmons suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday and could be sidelined for one to four weeks.

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