Cheika set to wield axe as pressure mounts
MATT Toomua is set to be recalled as the Wallabies' five-eighth as the team seeks to fix its errant kicking game.
Bernard Foley could pay the price for Australia's meek defeat to Wales last weekend, with the Wallabies to face 14th-ranked Italy this weekend.
Coach Michael Cheika must decide whether he seeks to experiment with some rookies for this clash, including the likes of teenager Jordan Petaia and halfback Jake Gordon, or put out his full strength team to ensure there is no major upset after 10 defeats from 13 games.
Toomua is adamant Cheika must pick his strongest team.
"I think we've got to win don't we? We've got to one; give respect to Italy as a team who we know can upset a lot of teams," Toomua said.
"We struggled against them a few years ago back in Australia so I don't think going out with wholesale changes would be the smartest tactic but I think at the same time, it'll be a balance.
"We've lost a few on the trot now and we need to - there might be selections that are enforced because of form rather than just giving guys a go.
"It'll be imperative that we win the game and win well and get some momentum going into England and Cheik might have a bigger picture view in terms of a few guys here and there but I think after, particularly what happened on the weekend, we've got to get a win. So, how we do that is up to the boss."
Toomua could overtake Foley as the preferred No. 10 or Kurtley Beale at inside centre given his strong tactical kicking game - an area found wanting in last weekend's 9-6 loss to Wales.
"The issue with us on the weekend was our option to kick was usually option B - we'd run a lot and then we'd go, 'OK, let's kick'," said Toomua, who prefers to play five-eighth.
"We weren't set up well, which often won't get a good kick away. I think we kicked about 20 or 21 times on the weekend, which in itself isn't much at all. You can see teams, good attacking teams, kick a lot more than that.
"I think for us it's actually about getting to that early and getting to a structure where we can actually get a good kick away and not use it as a fall back because then your chase isn't good, your kick quality's not as good as well."
With the Wallabies enduring their worst year in history, and a rejuvenated England awaiting them at Twickenham the following week, it is imperative Australia heads to London with a confidence-boosting win against an Italian side they should defeat comfortably.