Cheika wants Cooper and Genia to baffle the Boks

Australia head coach Michael Cheika says that he wants his pairing of Quade Cooper and Will Genia to vary their game in order to confuse the Springboks in their Rugby Championship Test in Brisbane.

Cooper has been selected to start alongside his regular Reds half back partner Will Genia for Saturday’s Rugby championship opener at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane where the duo play their home Super rugby matches.

Cheika admitted that he had agonised over the decision to go with the Test veteran pair – who featured at the 2011 World Cup – ahead of incumbents Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps and indicated their more diverse playbook swayed him.

Cooper has also helped steer the Wallabies to victory in seven of his 11 previous clashes with the Springboks.

“I just thought these two lads were the right guys to do the job in this Test match,” Cheika told reporters.

“The skill set they’ve got is something that I want to see them use against South Africa, the variation they might bring to the game.

“It was a very difficult choice but it’s one I really believe in.”

A strong performance from Cooper and Genia will put them in the box seat as Cheika’s first-choice options in the count down to the World Cup in England and Wales later this year.

There are only five Tests left before Australia’s opening World Cup match against Fiji and Cheika has initially preferred the Queensland Reds pair over Foley and Phipps, who played this season under Cheika at the NSW Waratahs.

Captain Stephen Moore said time was of the essence for the Wallabies.

“You look at the calendar and it’s three and a bit months and the World Cup’s over,” Moore said.

“It’s an unbelievably short period of time so we need to really focus on getting it right early and getting some momentum before we go over there.”

Moore warned not to expect too much too soon from the new-look Wallabies.

They could take time to gel with a new combination around the scrumbase and inside backs, including the return of French-based Matt Giteau at inside centre alongside Cooper and Genia and the preference for Scott Higginbotham over incumbent Ben McCalman at No.8.

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