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Cheika puts grand slam nobodies on notice

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Joe Barton

The Wallabies have been served a reality check from coach Michael Cheika, who told his team they are "nobody" ahead of Saturday's Murrayfield showdown with Scotland.

Following an encouraging Spring Tour-opening victory over Wales, and against the perceived weakest grand slam opponent, the Wallabies have firmed as heavy favourites this weekend (Sunday 0130 AEDT kickoff).

But the favouritism sits uncomfortably with Cheika, who is wary of complacency hitting his squad after a year of mixed results - and with the reward of a first winning grand slam tour since 1984 on offer.

Since making the World Cup final last year, Australia struggled and have notched seven defeats to date - including whitewashes at the hands of England in June and to the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup.

That means more to Cheika than the current world rankings, which has Australia sitting in third behind England and New Zealand.

"Who are we? We're nobody. Why have we got a higher status? We've got nothing," Cheika said in his pre-match press conference.

"Right now, both teams are equal and the only thing that separates them is what happens on match day.

"No one is looking at (rankings), the only thing we're looking at is Saturday.

"All that other stuff is around ego, and we've got no reason to have an ego, we've been getting battered around a little bit this year."

In a season in which the Wallabies squad has undergone significant changes, Cheika has regularly pointed to the glut of debutants.

Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu became the 12th rookie to grab a Wallabies cap when he ran on late in last week's win over Wales.

"We've got a year of 15 Tests against the top-eight nations and they're all going to give us something," Cheika said.

"We've had a big change of personnel, 12 debutants.

"In the match-squad here there's going to be eight or nine players in single-digit Test numbers.

"We're thinking in an entirely different manner.

"That is important to us because that's the attitude I want our younger players to be learning.

"Like every opponent on this tour, (Scotland) will pose the maximum threat because they're the team in front of us."

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