Tour spots on the line, says Michael Cheika

Duncan Paia'aua during a Wallabies training session at Leichhardt Oval.
Duncan Paia'aua during a Wallabies training session at Leichhardt Oval. Mark Metcalfe

BERTHS on the Wallabies' Spring Tour will be up for grabs when they take on the Barbarians tonight at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.

And players from both teams will be encouraged to put up their hand, says Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

"This is going to be a big game for a lot of players, there's still a couple of spots on the tour available,” Cheika said.

"There's probably one backline position and one forward position still available on tour, so we're looking to see how we go this weekend with players that probably haven't had a chance to play.”

Cheika is expected to name a touring squad of 33 or 34 late today or tomorrow.

He has made a raft of changes to the Wallabies side that defeated the All Blacks last weekend, with only Israel Folau and Jack Dempsey retained.

Cheika was not concerned that the changes might stifle momentum.

Instead he has included "a group of players that are busting to play”.

Cheika's starting side includes two debutants in Duncan Paia'aua, who lines up at five-eighth against his Queensland Reds teammate and Barbarians captain Quade Cooper, and Force inside centre Billy Meakes.

Cooper has seen the growth of Rockhampton product Paia'aua, 22, from up close.

"When he got to the Reds, he came with not much confidence, he didn't really understand the game,” he said.

"Having a guy like that outside you, you can just give him the ball and something will happen. He's very strong, he's athletic, he's got speed now.

"(But) the biggest thing he has to offer is his courage and heart.

"When he's out on the field there's no one more fearless than him. That's a great guy to be playing with and not so much to be playing against.”

The Barbarians' starting side will include 11 Test players, eight of them from Australia, including Cooper, locks Sam Carter and Luke Jones, and wingers Eto Nabuli and Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Topics:  michael cheika wallabies

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