Cheika expects gains from Wallabies’ pain

Source:AFP Published: 2016/12/4 23:38:40

Australia coach Michael Cheika is confident there will be a long-term benefit to the Wallabies from a difficult 2016 that ended with a 37-21 defeat by England.

Australia were overpowered in the second half on ­Saturday as England recorded their fourth win over the Wallabies this year and a 14th in a row against all opponents.

The result meant Australia had lost nine of their 15 Tests in 2016, leaving Cheika with a win percentage for the year almost as bad as the one that saw England coach Eddie Jones dismissed as Wallaby boss over a decade ago.

The 40 percent win rate was Australia's worst since the Wallabies managed just 38.5 percent in 2005 - a return that got Jones the sack.

But after taking Australia to last year's World Cup final, there is no suggestion that Cheika is in imminent danger of suffering a similar fate.

And having introduced 13 debutants this year, Cheika was confident his investment in new talent would yield a dividend at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"This year has been about teaching ourselves a few things," said Cheika after Australia were outscored four tries to two by England at Twickenham.­ "We've played the top two teams [New Zealand and England] seven times this year with a whole bunch of new players and that's going to be good even if the outcomes haven't been good."

He added, "I know we'll be criticized for losing but you have to wear that sometimes.

"I feel I have a responsibility to develop talent and give them opportunities."

Among those who've made their Wallaby bow this year are Sefa Naivalu, a try-scorer on Saturday, as well as Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi and powerful No.8 Lopeti Timani.

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