Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Rugby - Wallabies can't afford to make big changes for Italy: Toomua

Rugby - Wallabies can't afford to make big changes for Italy: Toomua
File Photo: Rugby Union - Premiership - Saracens vs Leicester Tigers - Allianz Park, London, Britain - February 25, 2018 Leicester Tigers' Matt Toomua converts his sides fourth try Action Images/Andrew Couldridge -
Copyright
ANDREW COULDRIDGE(Reuters)
Text size Aa Aa

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika may hope to try out new players and give others a rest against Italy on Saturday but the Wallabies can ill-afford sweeping changes as they battle to return to winning form, utility back Matt Toomua has said.

The Wallabies slumped to their 10th defeat in 13 tests with a 9-6 loss to Wales over the weekend, sparking a fierce reaction in Australia where rugby pundits called for Cheika's sacking a year out from the World Cup in Japan.

While there are fresh legs in the squad, including uncapped 18-year-old fullback Jordan Petaia, Australia should aim to field a strong side against the Italians in Padova, said Toomua.

"I think we've got to win, don't we?" Toomua told reporters.

"We've got to give respect to Italy as a team who we know can upset a lot of teams. We struggled against them a few years ago back in Australia.

"So I think going out with wholesale changes wouldn't be the smartest tactic."

Australia have never lost to Italy in 17 matches but suffered a huge scare in their last meeting in Brisbane last year before overhauling the Azzurri 40-27.

Toomua said he expected some changes to the Wallabies side that Wales coach Warren Gatland described as surprisingly easy to defend against.

"We've lost a few on the trot now and ... there might be some selections that are enforced because of form rather than just giving guys a go," added Toomua.

"It will be imperative that we win the game and we win well, to get some momentum going into England.

"Cheika 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."

After Italy, the Wallabies finish their 2018 season against Eddie Jones's England at Twickenham next week.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.