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Cheika confident in Wallabies rebuild

AAP logoAAP 22/10/2016 Darren Walton

With a humbling home series loss to Eddie Jones's England and the Bledisloe Cup lost for yet another season, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is loathe to say this is the year Australian rugby had to have.

But, in reality, Cheika concedes that's exactly what 2016 has been for his battered and oft-beaten Wallabies.

Lost in sorry statistics around Australia's least successful campaign in more than a decade is the introduction to the Test cauldron of 11 hungry new internationals.

Among the debutants to succeed ageing stalwarts like Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper and company have been backline revelations Reece Hodge and Samu Kerevi and mongrel locks Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold, who appear exciting long-term Wallabies.

It hasn't all been smooth sailing, especially after last year's charge to the World Cup final, with Cheika dubbing the Wallabies' record 42-8 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney "the worst day that we've had together since I've been involved".

But the reigning world coach of the year is adamant the Wallabies will emerge stronger from their 2016 travails.

"It's also new for me as well," said Cheika, the only coach to win a Super Rugby and European Cup title as a mentor.

"When you're coaching club or provincial rugby and you're looking to renovate your roster or change it up, you can go and buy players or bring players in from elsewhere etc.

"This is a different atmosphere.

"We've been complaining about our depth for a while - from different places - and it's about 'well, let's work with it now'.

"We're trying to install the coaching and the connections across the states as well to enable us to build more depth and we start that by doing it now.

"We've got 15 Tests this year against the top eight nations, or something like that. So it's a year that will make us in the end.

"It will be excellent in giving us that experience of playing, for those newer guys in particular, against quality opposition.

"Quantity as well, because there's a lot fo games and they're learning from that because they are improving."

Having already used 40 players in 2016, Cheika said he planned to name even more Test rookies on Monday for the Wallabies' five-Test spring tour of Europe.


Dane Haylett-Petty - fullback/wing

Sefa Naivalu - wing

Samu Kerevi - centre

Reece Hodge - utility back

Nick Frisby - halfback

Leroy Houston - back row

Rory Arnold - lock

Adam Coleman - lock

Allan Alaalatoa - prop

Tom Robertson - prop

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