MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia backs Kurtley Beale and Will Genia may be rested for the June internationals against Fiji, Scotland and Italy as coach Michael Cheika considers blooding new players at test level two years out from the World Cup in Japan.
The Europe-based duo will finish their club seasons in time to line up against Fiji in Melbourne on June 10, but Cheika said he might keep them in reserve until the Rugby Championship kicks off in August.
“Will will be finishing this Saturday, his last match for Stade Francais, the Challenge Cup final in European Rugby, whereas Beale is probably going to go on for another two or three weeks more with the commitments to (Wasps in) the English Premiership,” Cheika told Australian media.
”We’ll make a decision based on (how) we think those guys finish up the season and how they’re feeling and what our plans are for the rest of the year.
”But it’s a question of jumping together with the guys and deciding to go with June or we decide to wait until August.
“I don’t need to call it now. I’ll just wait and see how they pull up at the end of the season.”
Although keen to build a strong side for the 2019 World Cup, Cheika said he would not be bringing in new players if it meant sacrificing a chance to win silverware in the annual Bledisloe Cup series against New Zealand and in the Rugby Championship.
“You’ve got to blood new players. You’ve got to get them into it. You don’t just give that away,” Cheika said.
”But there’s some very important games between now and then. There’ll be three opportunities between now and the Bledisloe Cup and there’s also the Rugby Championship, important trophies for us.
“The World Cup’s important; that will be the pinnacle and we’re planning for that, but not to the excuse of not performing on our day to day, which is our pursuit of the Bledisloe and the Rugby Championship.”
Australia play the second June international against Scotland in Sydney on June 17, followed by Italy in Brisbane a week later.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford