Cheika: England favourites against Oz

Date published: September 27 2015

Michael Cheika insists his focus is on Australia rather than England ahead of their crucial encounter at Twickenham next Saturday.

The Wallabies can knock out the hosts with a win, after hammering Uruguay 65-3 in their clash at Villa Park on Sunday.

However the Australia coach believes his team go into the game as underdogs against England, and will have to improve a great deal before that game.

"England are the home team, so they're going to be the favourites," said Cheika. 

"It's a tough place to win. That part is pretty straightforward. I've got to try my best to improve the Australia team. I don't know how they'll be. 

"That's their business. We are going to have to improve some of the pieces of our game, so we can get to the standards we need to be at for the game on Saturday and we're going to be working hard on our improvements."

After running in 11 tries, Australia moved top of Pool A, but they have a couple of injury concerns after the game. Will Skelton was forced off with a stinger on his shoulder, but of more concern is Wycliff Palu.

The number eight went off at half-time with a hamstring problem which Cheika admitted could be problematic.

However on the positive side, fellow back rower Sean McMahon was outstanding, and Cheika has an embarrassment of riches on the flank.

"It's getting a bit ridiculous," Cheika added. 

"Every man of the match we're having is seven or eight. I think Sean McMahon, his selection initially was for a certain reason. 

"Obviously we've got some pretty influential players in those positions, but as long as he's there rattling their cage, that'll keep them honest. He knows those guys are there and he's just got to keep taking it to them."