Australia vs Wales, coach Joe Schmidt on Charlie Cale selection

Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt is urging Charlie Cale to mix some starch with his silky skills if he is to realise his potential as a top flight Test No.8.

The 23-year-old – born in Dubbo but raised in Sydney – was perhaps the biggest mover in Australian rugby this season as his breakout campaign with the Brumbies rocketed him into the national team.

Cale made his Wallabies debut in Saturday’s 25-16 win over Wales in Sydney and Schmidt rated his second half cameo “relatively quiet.”

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Charlie Cale of the Wallabies at Allianz Stadium.

Charlie Cale of the Wallabies at Allianz Stadium. Getty

But the athleticism of the 195cm, 105kg Cale would be enticing for any coach and Schmidt had no hesitation in promoting him into the starting side when captain Liam Wright’s shoulder didn’t come right.

Cale will start at the back of the scrum at AAMI Park in a move that shifts Rob Valetini to blindside flanker and mirrors the Brumbies.

Schmidt is not a fan of frivolous offloading but he encouraged Cale to retain his flair when asked about his penchant for grubber kicks.

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“Yeah, every time he scores off those I’m delighted,” Schmidt quipped on Thursday after confirming his second Test 23.

“I think Charlie brings that package. That package can help destabilise a defensive system that Wales might have at the same time. What really impressed me with Charlie today, even at training, he worked really hard on the other side of the ball.

“Having that athleticism to connect and help on the edge when he’s defending that wide. He actually got on tight and got nice and square in his contacts and worked hard.

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“One of the things about Test footy is you can’t just play one side of the ball. I’m not saying that Charlie did during the year but I think his application to the defensive side of the ball was really good today.

“If we can free him up, we know those other aspects with the ball will be a strength for him.”

Schmidt said Cale’s Super Rugby Pacific form fully justified a start and felt he would benefit from a full week of training in the run on XV.

Charlie Cale of the Wallabies grabs lineout ball.

Charlie Cale of the Wallabies grabs lineout ball. Getty

“Because inevitably when you’re coming off the bench you don’t get the same reps in the team,” he explained.

“And so for lineout clarity, where he’s so quick into the air, for the clarity around his role in the defensive system, or in the attacking shape or those elements of the game, I think for him it’ll be a nice runway into Saturday’s game.”

Schmidt said Wright was a “good chance” to return for the July 20 Test against Georgia in Sydney and hinted that replacement captain James Slipper was a somewhat reluctant skipper.

James Slipper and Liam Wright of the Wallabies sing the national anthem.

James Slipper and Liam Wright of the Wallabies sing the national anthem. Getty

“Slips isn’t massively keen on… he just leads himself really well. He’ll do a great job. Fantastic experience. It’s that quiet leadership that we’ll need. And the quiet resolve he brings to his work will hopefully ripple through the team.”

Allan Alaalatoa will almost certainly take over as captain when he enters the game in the second half – as he did at Allianz Stadium.

There are only four men in the 23 with more than 50 Tests to their name: Slipper (135), Alaalatoa (68), Nic White (66) and Taniela Tupou (51) – while Reds hooker Josh Nasser is poised to become the eighth debutant under Schmidt after being named on the bench.

“I only met these guys two weeks ago,” the former World Rugby coach of the year said.

“There’s a lot to cover and we’re trying to keep the menu fairly tight but to be really good with what we do do. I know they’re good men and certainly driven to play really well for the Wallabies.

“They’re still finding their feet. There’s some confidence but to get that really deep rooted belief in what they’re doing and how they play the game and how they depend on each other – that’s going to take time because those things are embedded in instant decisions where you’re playing with someone…

“I’ve learned that they’re determined, they want to be as good as they can be. But I’ve also had enough experiences to know that it’s still going to take time before they really know each other well enough to have that trust in those microseconds that you get to make decisions.

“I think any team is always a work in progress but sometimes you’re just a little bit further back in that spectrum than getting into the really accelerated high trust environment of a high performance team.”

Schmidt agreed Wales would badly miss injured No.8 Aaron Wainwright, who was the best player in a losing cause before tearing his hamstring in Sydney.

“I’ve been a big fan of Wainwright. He was really good for them last year. Last week’s game, we tried to double team him and he still took gain line off us. He’s impressive,” he said.

“He’s at the peak of his powers at the moment so it’ll be pretty disappointing for Wales to lose him…

“Inevitably you’re going to lose something with Aaron Wainwright with his experience and just how good a player he is. But I think they’ve got guys who are still going to really challenge us.”