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Matt Toomua and Nic White still in plan for Wallabies

CARDIFF: New Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insists Matt Toomua and Nic White will get a chance to force their way back into the Test team, despite his overlooking the halves duo for his first match in charge.

ACT Brumbies Toomua and White were notable absentees from the Wallabies' line-up to play Wales at Millennium Stadium on Sunday morning.

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Michael Cheika faces first Test

The Wallabies take on Wales this weekend in their first official Test match with coach Michael Cheika in charge.

The pair had been regular members of Ewen McKenzie's game day squad for the past 12 months, playing in almost every Test for a year in either a starting or bench role.

But Cheika has opted for the halves pairing of Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley with Queenslanders Will Genia and Quade Cooper as the back-ups on the bench.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insists Nic White and Matt Toomua will get a chance to force their way back into the Test ...
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insists Nic White and Matt Toomua will get a chance to force their way back into the Test team. Photo: Getty Images

Cheika allayed suggestions they had fallen out of favour, backing them to impress if they get an opportunity.

"I took the idea because I'm new that we'll use the last Test team as the barometer and go from there, try to work your way in," Cheika said.


"Matt Toomua was a really tough call … sometimes you've just got to make a choice.

"The decision's not that clearly definable ... sometimes you've just got to make a choice and back it, you know you've got players who can still come in and add.

"That's really important in the overall picture of the squad, that's what I told the guys. I wanted to try to keep some sort of formula to it and let it grow over the next four or five weeks.

"We've got talent, there's no denying that and the guys are hungry … we should have players fighting for positions.

"We've got to breed the idea of everyone contributing. Nic White and Matt Toomua have been absolute regulars in their positions recently, we need everyone pushing each other."

White copped some criticism for the way he kicked the ball out when the Wallabies were leading New Zealand in a Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane three weeks ago. The Wallabies failed to defend for long enough to hold the All Blacks out and they scored a last-minute try to win the match.

Toomua missed the clash against the All Blacks after suffering consecutive concussions on the Wallabies' tour of South Africa and Argentina.

Fijian-born winger Henry Speight will have to wait at least one more week to make his debut with Brumbies teammate Joseph Tomane holding on to his spot.

Speight played against the Barbarians last weekend but has had limited game time in the past two months while recovering from a hamstring injury.

Toomua and Christian Lealiifano are locked in a battle for the inside centre spot with Lealiifano getting his chance to hold onto the No.12 jersey. It's a role reversal after Toomua ousted Lealiifano for a starting spot last year.

"It's tough with the coaching change, you don't know what's going to happen. Everyone is competing well and training hard," Lealiifano said.

"All you can do is put your best foot forward and then the coach will pick the side. I'd love a bit more game time.

"I think my confidence is slowly building, it comes with time and all I can do is enjoy it."