Australia 63 Uruguay 3: Australia head coach Michael Cheika has refused to stoke the fires of controversy ahead of an anticipated titanic World Cup tussle with England.
The Wallabies beat Uruguay 65-3 at Villa Park in Birmingham to join Wales on nine points in Pool A, where England sit third and are in danger of exiting their own tournament if they lose to Australia at Twickenham next Saturday.
Cheika, though, is concentrating solely on his side after an 11-try romp over the South American minnows in Birmingham. It is a departure from oft-outspoken comments from Australian sportspeople about Englishmen.
“I know what I think. England are the home team, so they’re going to be the favourites,” Cheika said. “It’s a tough place to win. That part is pretty straightforward.”
The former Leinster boss paid little attention to England’s defeat to Wales on Saturday and the impact on the Wallabies, who have lost on their last two visits to Twickenham.
“I don’t even think about that stuff,” Cheika added. “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. Our plan is not to have to scrounge through [to the quarter-finals].
“We’ve got to play well every game and let the results speak for themselves. We’re not sitting in front of the TV barracking after one team or another. We’re going to have to improve on the first two matches against England.”
Cheika, whose side missed out on a bonus point in their opening win over Fiji, is relatively new to the international arena after a period of scandal and introspection for the Wallabies.
“I don’t think I’m in the right position to be putting a critique on any other team in the competition except my own. I’m a bit of a novice around this,” he added. “My focus is squarely on the Australian team.”
Quade Cooper was successful with five from 11 kicks at goal and was sin-binned after 15 minutes after needlessly man-handling Uruguay scrum-half Agustin Ormaechea. On this evidence — and despite some sublime skill in attack — the enigmatic fly-half is unlikely to be trusted for the big games to come.
Scorers for Australia:
Tries: McMahon 2, Tomane, Mumm, Speight, McCalman 2, Mitchell 2, Toomua, Kuridrani. Cons: Cooper 5.
Scorers for Uruguay:
Beale, Tomane, Speight, Toomua, Mitchell, Cooper, Phipps, Sio, Polota-Nau, Smith, Mumm, Skelton, McCalman, McMahon, Palu.
Kuridrani for Toomua (78), Douglas for Skelton (57), Simmons for Palu (46).
Moore, Kepu, Holmes, Genia, Foley. Sin Bin: Cooper (15).
Mieres, Leivas, Prada, A. Vilaseca, Silva, Berchesi, Ormaechea, Sanguinetti, Kessler, Sagario, S. Vilaseca, Lamanna, De Freitas, Beer, Gaminara.
Roman for A. Vilaseca (73), A. Duran for Sanguinetti (54), Arboleya for Kessler (46), Klappenbach for Sagario (54), Magno for Lamanna (56), Nieto for De Freitas (56), Bascou for Gaminara (71). Not Used: O. Duran.
Pascal Gauzere (France).
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