New coach Ewen McKenzie impressed with new backline for Australia
Last Updated: 15/11/13 2:37pm
Ewen McKenzie: Encouraged by Wallabies progress on autumn tour
Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has predicted a big future for his new backline as the Wallabies continue to rebuild after their defeat to the British and Irish Lions.
McKenzie is delighted that the likes of centres Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani have "come out of nowhere" to inspire some vast improvements in the autumn internationals.
A side packed with creative playmakers will take on Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, and the new Australia boss is happy with the progress made by his team since the defeat to the Lions.
"A group of playmakers have suddenly come out of nowhere for us, and it's definitely building the spine of our backline," McKenzie said. "It's giving us more options and we're very pleased with how that's building.
"You see even the likes of Israel (Folau) at the back there, then Matt Toomua in midfield, along with Tevita there too. Then there's Christian Leali'ifano on the bench who can change things up.
"It's important for the style of game we want to play that we can have that variable point of attack."
McKenzie was quick to recall dangerous fly-half Quade Cooper, who fell down the pecking order under previous coach Robbie Deans.
Cooper, who was also appointed vice-captain, has formed an impressive partnership with scrum-half Will Genia which he believes has helped revivie his international career.
McKenzie said: "It's great to see Quade coming along, and I think he's making strides all the time. Clearly that partnership with Will is important to us, but I think it's important to both of them too."
McKenzie is wary of Ireland's strength at the breakdown, an area he believes will be crucial to the outcome at the Aviva Stadium, and he backed Michael Hooper to give his side the edge.
He added: "The breakdown is an area that has a pivotal outcome on almost every game at this level.
"So we know we've got to be totally switched on and right up to speed there, to go against a strong Irish set-up in that respect.
"But I think we have good balance there and hopefully we can bring that to bear to stop their experienced and talented backline getting front-foot ball."