November 17, 2017 / 7:08 AM / a year ago

Rugby-Wallabies more focused on Japan than England revenge, says Cheika

LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Australia are determined to end a four-match losing streak against England but any outcome in Saturday’s test at Twickenham must be seen in the context of the World Cup in Japan in two years’ time, coach Michael Cheika has said.

“We have made a conscious effort to make a change in our team in the character profile of the players that we want playing and to develop a different approach to how we go to the game,” he told a media conference.

“It is developed around getting our team to how we want it to be in 2019.

“We have broadened our base, we wanted to build depth because we felt like we didn’t have enough of it before and we have done it on purpose.”

The Wallabies have had 25 debutants from the time of the three-test series at home against England in mid-2016, when they were whitewashed 3-0.

“I would say 21 of the 25 are still involved one way or another, there might be a bunch injured and not on this tour but there are probably 10 or 12 that could have been selected on this tour and aren’t here,” added Cheika.

“You have had to have some thick skin during that time but you can see the camaraderie, the guys really love playing with each other.

“Maybe we have not got as much depth or we haven’t got the resources of an England but there is a lot of love in the team.

“They love playing footy together, they love being on tour together, they are fighting hard for the small things.

“It has not been perfect, I don’t think it is ever going to be perfect.”

After back-to-back losses against the All Blacks at the start of the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship in August, Australia have gone undefeated and warmed up for the England match by beating Wales 29-21 in Cardiff last week.

While Cheika is taking the long view, he also said it would be “naive” of him not to place a high degree of importance on beating England, Australia’s traditional sporting foes.

“There is not a game in any sport between Australia and England where there is not high stakes and massive enjoyment for the fans on both sides,” he said.

Australia conclude their end-of-year tour at Murrayfield against Scotland on Nov. 25. (Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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