‘Perception part of Sio’s axing’ – Cheika

Date published: June 15 2016

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika revealed that his front-row Scott Sio was dropped from the matchday squad because of "perception".

Cheika said that Sio will be perceived as an infringer at scrum time and that stigma might perpetuate further penalisations against the player, hence his axing for the side's must-win second Test against England in Melbourne on Saturday. 

"Obviously, when your prop goes to the sin bin, there's some type of perception there about what he's doing or what is going on," Cheika told Sports News.

"He'd only given away one penalty but I want to make sure there's no perception about that at all.

"We're just here to scrum square and hard and push as hard as we can. That's what we'll be doing.

With James Slipper donning the number one jersey on Saturday Toby Smith, comes onto the bench while Sio drops out of the squad completely.

"I want to give opportunities to guys who have deserved it. Scotty had his chance last week, didn't take it and now it's Toby's turn," added Cheika.

Rebels loose forward Sean McMahon is up against back-row behemoth Billy Vunipola who the young Wallaby has a distinct weight disadvantage to. Cheika however doesn't see this as a problem.

"He plays the game very physical," said Cheika.

"I don't feel like he's going to be dwarfed. I know the English No.8's a big fella, but that's how it rolls sometimes.

"I believe in him a lot and what he brings and so do all the other players. I have no doubts when I put a player like that into the gold jersey."