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I'm not cheapening Wallaby jersey: Cheika

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 Vince Rugari

Michael Cheika insists he is not cheapening the Australian jersey by including Marika Koroibete in his European tour squad before the NRL convert has played a single rugby match at home.

Reaction to Koroibete's selection in the 32-man touring group has been mixed but Cheika reckons it was a perfectly logical thing to do, saying it would allow him an up-close look at the Fijian flyer. He has been identified as a long-term Wallaby - ahead of his Super Rugby debut next year with the Melbourne Rebels.

"No one's getting a jersey for free - no one has and no one ever will," Cheika told reporters on Wednesday in a conference call.

"I'll look at him at training. He's obviously a fine player and a profile of out-and-out speed, a linebreaker, a guy who's got a bit of X-factor.

"He's got runs on the board - yes, in another code, but he's grown up playing rugby. It's not like he doesn't know the game.

"(But) he's not going to be jettisoned in there and start from game one. There's a definite plan in what we're doing."

Cheika indicated Australia's mid-week clash with the French Barbarians - a non-cap game to be played on November 24 in Bordeaux - would be the ideal opportunity to blood Koroibete.

"I've had a few discussions with him and met with him a couple of times about game knowledge," he said.

"He's still very, very well aware of what goes on in rugby and understands the dynamics of the game."

Koroibete is one of three uncapped players in the squad, along with hooker Tolu Latu and utility back Kyle Godwin.

Cheika said he had spoken to two-Test winger Luke Morahan, the unlucky man seemingly bumped out of the Wallaby reckoning by Koroibete's arrival.

"Yes, he would have been disappointed for sure, but I'm looking to grow the amount of depth of players that we have and (Koroibete) is one of the players that are on this tour who will help us in doing that," he said.

Meanwhile, Cheika admits he will have a fight on his hands to ensure in-form halfback Will Genia is available for Australia's full tour.

The first Test against Wales and the last Test against England don't fall inside World Rugby's regulation nine window, meaning Cheika will need to negotiate carefully with French club Stade Francais.

"I see that the English clubs have released the Welsh players, they (decided) as a whole to release them as a block. I'm hoping I'll get the same reaction from the president of Stade Francais but you never know," he said.

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