Rugby World Cup
Michael Cheika: Australia must improve against England
ESPN Staff
September 27, 2015
Improvement needed to beat England: Cheika

Michael Cheika indicated Australia's thumping victory over Uruguay has provided several selection headaches ahead of his side's World Cup crunch clash against England - but warned his players must improve before they take to the Twickenham turf next Saturday.

The Wallabies romped to an 11-try victory over Uruguay in Birmingham on Sunday which, combined with Wales' victory against the hosts on Saturday night, makes their showdown with England a potential decider as to who advances into the last eight.

"Our plan is not to have to scrounge through," Cheika said in his post-match press conference at Villa Park. "We want to play well in every game and let the results take care of themselves. We are not sitting in front of the TV barracking for one team. We are only looking at our own game and how we can improve.

Australia 65-3 (Australia only)

"We are going to have to improve on the first two matches to be able to compete with England. England are the home team and they are going to be the favourites.

"There's a few players that definitely put their hand up for selection [today]. There were little particular areas that I wanted the players to work on. We will go back, take the time to look through the film and just make some assessments about our selection going forward."

Sean McMahon was particularly impressive for the two-time world champions, scoring two tries to enhance his chances of starting against Stuart Lancaster's side in west London.

Cheika added: "It's getting a bit ridiculous because every man of the match we have is a seven or eight. His selection initially was for a certain reason and he is fulfiling his role in the team, and when he gets the chance to play for Australia he needs to cherish that because not everybody gets that chance.

"Obviously we have got some pretty influential players in those positions but as long as he is there, rattling their cage, that will keep them honest and it will keep him honest too, going for them. I was very proud of his performance because he knows the guys are there and he has just got to keep taking it to them."

Australia thrash Uruguay

McMahon was suitably satisfied with his World Cup bow. "It's pretty exciting. It's my first World Cup game. It's like dreams becoming reality for me," he said. "Now to get to the World Cup and get a man-of-the-match performance in front of such a great crowd is unbelievable.

"Uruguay put on a very physical performance so we had to step up as a team. We were focusing on executing the set piece so we could lay a good platform for the backs, I think in the end we did pretty well."

Fly-half Quade Cooper, though, will likely relinquish his starting place to Bernard Foley following a mixed day in the west midlands. After being shown a controversial yellow-card for a sling tackle, Cooper responded with a flurry of sharp passing to set up several Australian tries. However, his kicking at goal left a lot to be desired.

"I'm pretty sure there is an appeals process around yellow cards and we will appeal that yellow card," Cheika added on Cooper. "We felt that the hit was across the shoulder and that there was no intent to do any harm. I understand where the refs are coming from too. We will only do it if we think it is the right thing to do."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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