Rugby World Cup
Michael Cheika not concerned by Wallabies' failure to claim bonus point
PA Sport
September 23, 2015
Cheika pleased with Fiji test

Michael Cheika insists he is not bothered by the Wallabies' failure to claim a Rugby World Cup bonus point against Fiji.

The Wallabies led 25-3 just three minutes into the second half after prop Sekope Kepu had scored their third try, but they failed to get over for a bonus point-clinching fourth as Fiji fought back to lose the Pool A contest in Cardiff 28-13<.

England claimed a bonus point against Fiji, albeit in the final seconds, in the tournament opener at Twickenham last Friday, but Cheika feels his side are not at a disadvantage in a tough pool that also includes Wales.

"I'm new to Test footy and international rugby but winning a Test match is all you need to do," Cheika said. "I'm not counting points, I just want to win a game and then try and win the next one. That's it. I preach to my team about being humble and going into the match with Fiji and thinking about claiming a bonus point off them is not the right thing, especially the way they played the other night.

Why Australia might be disappointed

"England got a bonus point in the very last minute and they had a fair few looks to give the try, so they took it right into the extra-time to get it. That's their top team and they're obviously favourites in our pool being the home team, but Fiji are a top team and their players are playing rugby all over the world now.

"They're going to have their say before the tournament's over, no doubt it, and we showed Fiji respect near the end when we went for goal rather than get a bonus point try, because we try and win each game on its merits."

Australia next play pool minnows Uruguay at Villa Park on Sunday, and Cheika says he will change the entire team that started against Fij.

Australia 28-13 Fiji (Australia only)

Cheika wants to give all his players game-time before the Twickenham showdown with England on October 3 because he feels the hosts have an advantage when it comes to the fixture list.

"England go week, week, week - every weekend," Cheika said, "We don't have that advantage of every weekend and play every four or five days, so it's important we use our squad. Our genuine focus is on our squad tomorrow and the Uruguay game, but I want to give everyone a touch of the ball.

"I'm very pleased to have win our first game and there was quite a good level of physicality. That was really positive for us as we have not played a lot of rugby over the last few weeks.

"I think we've come into the tournament with people not too sure about if we're any good or not, but it's up to us change those opinions via consistent performance."

McKee: We came here with high ambitions

Fiji coach John McKee admitted it had been difficult to open their World Cup campaign with games against England and Australia in the space of five days.

But he said: "That's the draw of the competition, I don't think it's fair or unfair. That's the way the competition is set up. It was tough, we came here with high ambition and thought at our very best we could get a win.

"But it's been very hard to play England and then Australia five days later in two matches of such intensity."

At least Fiji have an eight-day break before their next game against Wales back in Cardiff.

"We will regroup after our effort and let the guys refuel the tanks a little bit," McKee said. "To play a lot of good rugby in those two games and come away with no points is disappointing, but it will give the guys extra resolve against Wales to make our mark."

© PA Sport

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