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Sheens tips Cherry-Evans to push for start

Australian coach Tim Sheens claims the selection of Daly Cherry-Evans in the World Cup squad is very much for now, not just the future.
Sheens tips Cherry-Evans to push for start
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Oct 7 AAP - Australian coach Tim Sheens claims the selection of Daly Cherry-Evans in the World Cup squad is very much for now, not just the future.

Cherry-Evans was one of three specialist halves named in the 24-man squad to contest the tournament, with the assumption he would travel as back-up to first-choice scrumbase pair Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

But while the 24-year-old's selection is obviously one for the future, Sheens expects the Manly halfback - controversially named Clive Churchill medallist as part of a losing NRL grand final side on Sunday - to push for a starting berth.

"... with Cherry-Evans being back-up to Cooper (Cronk) and Johnathan (Thurston), that will be an interesting contest for us during the World Cup as well because all three are in great form," Sheens said.

"I think over a six-week tournament Cherry-Evans will certainly throw down the gauntlet for sure.

"Knowing Cooper and knowing Johnathan, they'll be ready for the challenge.

"That's all good for Australia and Daly's shown that he can play some utility as well, he did that for Queensland this year.

"It's not a matter that he won't be considered within a 17-man either."

That would seemingly pit him in a head-to-head battle with Robbie Farah for the utility spot on the Australian bench, though Sheens conceded he may go with four forwards in his interchange group and relay on the versatility of Greg Bird and Luke Lewis to plug gaps in the halves or out wide.

Cherry-Evans' selection, along with that of Boyd Cordner and Josh Papalii, does take in some future planning for the Kangaroos.

Sheens was adamant however that all three - along with the uncapped Andrew Fifita - were in his plans to play prominent roles at the World Cup.

"You can't pick anyone in this squad who you don't think can play in a final and I think every one of those 24 people can play in a final if they have to," Sheens said.

"There's a couple of young blokes there that we'll be keen to have a look at because this is an ageing Australian side, ageing by the fact they are nearly 30, some of them are 30.

"The next World Cup in four years time may not see a few of these guys.

"For us it's about winning this World Cup first and foremost.

"We don't hold the title, we're seeded No.1, there's plenty of pressure on us, but we've still got to win this title back.

"We can't afford to experiment to any great degree so there's a lot of experience in this side."


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