Focused Australia closely following Michael Cheika’s script

Drew Mitchell says former Leinster coach has got Wallabies committed to the cause

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

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 largely relegated to white noise. It centres on the integrity of preparation.

It’s an approach that has proved successful in winning the Rugby Championship and in positioning the Wallabies perfectly ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup pool showdown with Wales at Twickenham.

Australian coach Michael Cheika has introduced a set of values that have been embraced by the playing group and management, ones that go far beyond patterns or a playbook.

An insight

Drew MitchellLeinster

“It’s about who it is we are representing, on a personal level or also on a greater level, such as the Australian supporters we’ve got back home and those that are here as well. Just binding the group together, tapping into that mental side of things and playing for one another.”

Stephen Larkham, Australia’s World Cup-winning outhalf in 1999 and current backs’ coach added: “

That mental strength may help them assimilate the loss of some players for the Welsh game. Wing Rob Horne, was forced off against England after 10 minutes with a shoulder injury and definitely won’t play.

Hugely influential

Michael Hooper

Larkham rejected the notion that Wales’ injury problems or a 10-match winning streak that the Wallabies currently enjoy against Saturday’s opponents would have a material benefit.

“We had a fairly light day Monday but Tuesday is our big day. We will have a double session on the field. Today is the day that could really make or break the preparations. Looking back at those old games against Wales it has no relevance to the game we are playing this weekend.”

Larkham, whose switch from fullback to outhalf was a pivotal influence in helping Australia win the World Cup in 1999, spoke of the performance of the current Aussie number 10, Bernard Foley and his 28-point haul against England.

“We speak about little things, communication, making sure he is clear with the game calling sheet, going through multi-phase and getting support from the other playmakers out there. He was in the right frame of mind for that game, he was up for it . . .

“I have seen him play a number of good games. He maybe hasn’t had the accolades but he has been consistent for a long time now.”

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