FUKUROI CITY – Australia coach Michael Cheika gave his forwards a pass mark but said his backs had plenty to work on as they stumbled towards a likely Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England with a hard-fought 27-8 victory over Georgia on Friday.
The Wallabies enjoyed overwhelming domination in possession and territory at Shizuoka Stadium in their final Pool D match but led only 17-8 going into the last six minutes against a determined Georgia side.
Cheika said it was just the sort of match he had been hoping for his forwards and thought the Wallabies pack had delivered in the trenches against physical opponents. "I thought it was a good challenge, I thought our forwards stepped right up to it, we know how effective the Georgian scrum can be and I think we handled it pretty well," he said.
"We scored a maul try, probably could have done a bit better on a couple of those if we stayed more disciplined, our lineout worked, so a good hit-out for the forwards. "A few things we need to work on out the back but we'll get to that this week." Australia would have perhaps expected to have scored more tries than the four they did – two adding a gloss to the scoreline in the last five minutes – but Cheika thought it was all fixable before the quarter-finals.
"We're the lowest kicking team in international rugby, we like to keep the ball in hand, we knew the conditions were going to be tricky and I think we did drop a bit too much ball," he said.