Michael Cheika says his centre pairing of Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi are capable of greatly troubling the All Blacks in Saturday night’s blockbuster Bledisloe Cup.
The Aussies haven’t won the revered trophy in 15 years and haven’t beaten New Zealand since 2015.
But despite the Wallabies dismal recent form against the World Champions, Cheika’s mid-field men are giving their coach a lot to smile about.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it because they’re both potent attackers,” Cheika said of the Beale-Kerevi pairing on Thursday.
“They’ve both got excellent chat around the field and they’re able to see the opposition because the game’s going very quickly and they’re able to see where the opportunities are for both of them, and run those lines.”
But Beale and Kerevi have not played in the last 10 weeks because of injury with both displaying questionable defence in the past.
Also, it will be Beale’s first Test start in the No.12 jersey, however, Cheika said he had no reservations about the pair’s ability to stop the All Blacks and insisted the duo had the potential to blow the Kiwis away with ball in hand.
He said a reduced training load could pay dividends in Sydney.
“We’ve been working hard on that area,” Cheika said.
“Last year, when I look at that game (42-8 loss in Sydney), I still believe that I overtrained them in the lead-up because I was stressed about their fitness.
“That’s a mistake we haven’t made this year.
“We’ve worked really hard on the defence because we know it’s going to be a very important part of the game because of how potent they are in attack.
“We’ll take a few risks sometimes to get the outcome that we want, but I believe we’re well prepared in that area.”