So close: Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika  walks past the the Webb Ellis Cup after Saturday’s final. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Australia come out of this World Cup a stronger force than they went in. New Zealand are automatically weakened by the loss of Richie McCaw, Dan Carte(...)

 Michael Cheika arrives for the World Cup semi-final against Argentina at Twickenham. Cheika has led Australia to a first World Cup final in 12 years. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Listening to Michael Cheika calmly take all refereeing decisions on the chin, it’s been hard to equate this remodelled man with the coach who once ber(...)

Australia’s Adam Ashley Cooper, Scott Fardy, Scott Sio, Israel Folau and Michael Hooper after the press conference. Photograph: Henry Browne/Reuters

Michael Cheika insists Australia have ignored messages of goodwill hailing their passage into the World Cup final as they refuse to target anything ot(...)

Nathan Grey, Defence Coach of Australia speaks to the media following an Australia team recovery session in London. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Defences win championships, it is said, and as well as possessing two potent, creative and well-coached attacking games, Saturday’s World Cup final(...)

“Games against New Zealand can go all over the shop. Sometimes it opens up, sometimes it closes down,” says Australia assistant coach Stephen Larkham. Photograph:  Peter Cziborra/Reuters

World Cup finals in most sports tend to be anti-climactic, taut, low-scoring affairs. Understandably, neither coaches nor players are inclined to be t(...)

Prop Scott Sio is set to return to Australia’s starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand. Photograph: Getty

Scott Sio, such an integral part of the revitalised Australian scrum under the tutelage of Mario Ledesma over the last 12 months, returned to training(...)

Matt Giteau returned to the Wallaby fold when Michael Cheika took command. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/Afp Photo/Getty Images

Until Michael Cheika forced through The Giteau Rule one of rugby’s last little big men saw this World Cup as nothing more than a tidy earner. “I thoug(...)

Bernard Foley attributes big part of his development as a player to his involvement in Sevens rugby. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Bernard Foley chuckles while recounting a story about unsolicited advice he received at a family do the day after he’d struggled with his placekicking(...)

Michael Cheika’s Australia can secure top spot in the pool of death if they beat wales on Saturday. Photograph: Getty

The first press conference Michael Cheika conducted when the Australia squad arrived in London from Bath was at eight in the morning in an oppressivel(...)

Australia’s outhalf Bernard Foley scores a try against England. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Livepic

Australia have been emboldened by a playing philosophy that fundamentally focuses inwards rather than the external considerations, which have been la(...)