Michael Cheika insists Australia will ‘play with attack’

‘It's part of our identity. We’re not going to change our ways just because it’s a World Cup’

Australia fullback Israel Folau warms up with team-mates during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ahead of the match with against Fiji. Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Australia fullback Israel Folau warms up with team-mates during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ahead of the match with against Fiji. Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

 

With Australia and Fiji pledging to stick to their traditions of attacking rugby, Cardiff should get a cracking Rugby World Cup contest when the Pool A rivals clash at the Millennium Stadium today.

The Wallabies, winners of both previous World Cups played in Britain, finally get their campaign under way six days into the tournament and will be strong favourites to start with a win over the Pacific Islanders.

Capable of upset

After Japan’s victory over the Springboks on Saturday, however, no one is taking anything for granted and Fiji showed enough in their defeat against England to suggest they are capable of an upset if everything comes together.

Playing under a closed roof should facilitate the famed running game of both sides, even if some players have complained that the humidity can make the ball slippery.

Australia coach Michael Cheika has long made it clear that the Wallabies will never play conservative rugby on his watch, whatever the conditions. “That’s the way we play, to play with attack,” he told reporters in Bath on Monday.

“It’s part of our identity. We’re not going to change our ways just because it’s a World Cup. ”

Australia will aim to unleash the likes of fullback Israel Folau, but first they must secure the ball. To that end, Cheika has selected twin openside flankers in David Pocock and Michael Hooper.

Fiji have some potent attacking weapons themselves, not least hulking winger Nemani Nadolo. Flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu has been ruled out after being suspended for a dangerous tackle against England and coach John McKee has made three other changes to freshen up his pack.

 

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