It's tempting to scoff at Michael Cheika's claims that despite the catastrophic effort of Australia's teams in Super Rugby, the Wallabies will be in reasonable shape come August.

There will be plenty on both sides of the Tasman who will want to tell him he's dreaming.

But he's right, for all the mediocrity on show in Super Rugby and for all the dominance New Zealand teams have enjoyed over the Australians this year and last, it will take a fair bit of huffing and puffing to blow the Wallabies' house down.

Lest anyone should forget, the All Blacks were lucky to beat them for a third time last year. The test at Eden Park in October last year was the one where the All Blacks were going for their world record 18th consecutive victory.


Gripped by a touch of nervousness and sense of the occasion, the home side were a little tight and edgy and the Wallabies had control of the game for long periods.

They would have put themselves in a commanding position with 15 minutes had referee Nigel Owens not chalked off a try by Henry Speight on the grounds that Julian Savea had been obstructed in the build up.

It was a tough call on the Wallabies and had a similar one been made against the All Blacks, New Zealanders would still be moaning about it.

So despite the 3-0 clean sweep last year, the gap between the Wallabies and All Blacks didn't look so big by October and that, as much as anything else, will be filling Cheika with confidence.

He also knows that the collective form of the five Australian teams is to some extent irrelevant.

He's picking individuals and while the general standard of skill execution has been worryingly low, amid that there have been a handful of players who have shown a bit of something.

Get them out of their Super Rugby clubs into the Wallabies and Cheika will back himself and his fellow coaching staff to bring those players up another level again.

Cheika also knows that the likes of Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley and Tevita Kuridrani are all excellent players even if they aren't showing it week to week at the moment.

But again, get them into a Wallabies jersey and these guys could easily flick the switch and be at their world class best.

"I've been in teams where something just clicks and we'll make sure we find what we need to make it click so that the guys will be ready to pull on the gold jersey and do it proud," he said.

If anyone thinks that is far-fetched, remember how often Ma'a Nonu used to be near liability in Super Rugby only to win tests for the All Blacks just about on his own.

There are still a question mark about whether the Wallabies have enough genuine ball carriers in their pack and whether they have enough presence at No 8 and blindside.

There is also a bit of an issue at halfback where they look like they have a cluster of players without one being quite the right option, which is probably why Cheika is planning to pick Will Genia who is currently playing in France.

But those details aside, the Wallabies will have enough venom, structure and firepower to be a handful.

They have a good track record against the All Blacks in Sydney where the two teams will first meet this year and really, the only unknown is how much confidence has been drained from key individuals as a result of the constant beatings the Australian sides are suffering at the hands of New Zealand's teams.

Cheika will be realistic enough to know that most of his players will need a bit of gentle handling back to a better mental place, but if they can put in a couple of good performances in June against relatively soft opposition, the Wallabies will be a tricky side to beat in the Rugby Championship.