(Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika has urged his side to step up a gear in next weekend’s test against an improving Scotland side after the Wallabies opened their June campaign with a comfortable 37-14 victory over Fiji on Saturday.
Cheika’s men were fairly untroubled in Melbourne and Scotland were equally as ruthless when they gave new coach Gregor Townsend a winning start with a comprehensive 34-13 five-try triumph over Italy in Singapore later on Saturday.
The manner of Scotland’s victory impressed Cheika and despite the side missing three key players to British and Irish Lions duty in New Zealand, the Australia coach is braced for a tough encounter in Sydney next Saturday.
“Gregor Townsend is a pretty progressive coach, he’s got a few new ideas,” Cheika told reporters on Sunday.
“He’s got a pretty complete squad. They are only missing a few to the Lions, so they looked pretty sharp I thought. There were some clear things you could see they were trying to do and they scored three or four tries off moves.”
Scotland enjoyed a solid Six Nations tournament earlier this year, recording wins over Ireland, Wales and Italy under previous coach Vern Cotter and Cheika expects Townsend to carry on the good work of his predecessor with an emerging group.
“With Vern and now with Gregor, with their attacking game they are looking to play quite sharp, a lot of attacking kicks,” he added.
”Even small things like pretending to go for touch and taking a quick tap and running.
”You’ve got to stay on the job all the time, and then they’ve got the other side where they can play it tight and play a mauling game.
“We’re going to have to step up from what we did last weekend.”
Cheika ruled out making wholesale changes to the side that eased past Fiji but admitted he could make “one or two changes”.
“We’ll consider everyone again for selection, a raw slate and then we’ll just go from there,” he added.
Following the Scotland match, Australia take on Italy in Brisbane on June 24 as they continue preparations for the Rugby Championship starting in August.
Writing by John O'Brien in Singapore; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly