Bledisloe Cup distraction will be a welcome focus for Western Force stars

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes the up-coming Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks will take some players ...
Mark Metcalfe

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes the up-coming Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks will take some players minds off the axing of the Western Force.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says the lure of elusive Bledisloe Cup will help his Western Force players keep focus after the devastating blow of having their Super Rugby team axed.

The Force players in the 34-man Wallabies squad - Adam Coleman, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Curtis Rona, Billy Meakes and Tetera Faulkner - declined to speak to the media on Sunday while still coming to terms with the Australian Rugby Union's announcement on Friday.

"We knew the decision would be coming around this time," said Cheika.

Dane Haylett-Petty is one of the players from the soon-to-be-axed Western Force team in the Wallabies team.
PHIL WALTER/GETTY

Dane Haylett-Petty is one of the players from the soon-to-be-axed Western Force team in the Wallabies team.

"It was just about how we would try and deal with things and how they wanted to deal with things.

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'Obviously they were disappointed, there's no doubt about that, but as a professional player they've also got to prepare themselves as well.

"If there's any one thing that could keep your focus when something like this happens, it's the quest for winning a Bledisloe.

"From what I've seen of all our lads and those (Force) guys in particular, they've come in with a really strong focus on preparing themselves.

"Both Daneand Adam, who came in with some injuries have worked super hard to get themselves right.

"Then new guys like Rona and Billy Meakes, who have come in, have just excelled.

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"They are competing strongly for places within the team."

Cheika said centre contenders Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi were fully fit after recovering from hamstring and pectoral injuries respectively..

"Probably the only guy who has still got to get himself sorted out is (winger) Dane Haylett-Petty who is still carrying a bit of an elbow injury," Cheika said

"That's something that he's been working on very hard so I'm confident that will be right."

Cheika acknowledged the depth of the All Blacks side which will be out to retain the Bledisloe Cup which New Zealand has held since 2003.

"Obviously leaving out a player of the calibre of Julian Savea shows the depth that they have and the strength they will bring over to the contest in Sydney," Cheika said

"We are preparing to be ready for that and trying to go toe to toe."

 - AAP

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